Looking at the USMNT's Best World Cup Finishes Ever


After eight long years, the U.S. men’s national soccer team will make its World Cup return.

The U.S. failed to qualify in 2018 in a disappointing result for fans across the country. But the Americans will head to Qatar this year after a strong showing in the CONCACAF qualifying games.

Here’s the history of the United States’ results at the FIFA World Cup:

How many times has the U.S. made the World Cup?

The 2022 World Cup will be the United States’ 11th appearance in the famed event, but its first since 2014. The U.S. also qualified for the World Cup in 1930, 1934, 1950, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

We won’t have to worry about qualifying in the 2026 World Cup – the U.S. gets an automatic berth as one of the host nations.

What was the USMNT’s best World Cup finish ever?

The USMNT’s best World Cup result came in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay, when it finished in third place of the 13-team field. A good result was easier to come by back then, as the Americans won their two group stage games before losing 6-1 in the semifinal to Argentina. There was no third-place game, but the U.S. was officially third based on goal difference.

America hasn’t advanced to the semifinals since that initial tournament, and it has only reached the quarterfinals once (2002). That was the best modern showing for men’s American soccer, as the squad defeated rival Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16 before falling to Germany 1-0 in the quarterfinals.

What was the USMNT’s worst World Cup finish ever?

The USMNT has failed to advance out of group play in four of its 10 World Cup appearances (1950, 1990, 1998, 2006).

There have been three World Cups where the Americans went winless (1934, 1990, 1998). The 1934 World Cup didn’t have a group stage, but the U.S. lost its only game in the round of 16 to Italy by a score of 7-1. 

In 1990, the U.S. men’s soccer team had a minus-6 goal difference in its three losses, compared to a minus-4 goal difference in its three losses in 1998.

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