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In a Nutshell: A Brief History of the FIFA World Cup Draw


Italy 1990
Draw Location: Rome, Italy
U.S. Group: A
U.S. Opponents: Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia
U.S. Finish: Fourth in Group

Results:

Date                 Opponent                      Result               U.S. Goalscorer(s)

June 9               Czechoslovakia             1-5 L                Paul Caligiuri

June 14             Italy                              0-1 L                --

June 19             Austria                         1-2 L                Bruce Murray

In the USA’s first FIFA World Cup in 40 years, the Americans faced a difficult, and rare, opening group that featured three European teams. Rebounding from a tough opening loss to Czechoslovakia, the U.S. went on to post respectable performances against hosts Italy and Austria before bowing out. The tournament itself would prove to be a launching point for U.S. Soccer and the Men’s National Team.

USA 1994
Draw Location: Las Vegas, USA
U.S. Group: A
U.S. Opponents: Switzerland, Colombia, Romania
U.S. Finish: Third in Group

Results:

Date                 Opponent                      Result               U.S. Goalscorer(s)

June 18             Switzerland                   1-1 T                Eric Wynalda

June 22             Colombia                      2-1 W               Own Goal, Earnie Stewart

June 26             Romania                       0-1 L                --

July 4*              Brazil                            0-1 L                --

As hosts, the up-start U.S. team had a lot of pressure on its young shoulders to advance to the round of 16, a feat that every host before it had accomplished but certainly not an easy one in a difficult group. One of the tournament’s top seeds for the first – and so far only – time in its history, the U.S. opened with a tie against Switzerland, and a surprise victory against Colombia put them through to the knock out phase. Despite the potential headlines that would have come with a victory, the Americans saw an impressive effort fall just short against eventual champion Brazil on July 4.

France 1998
Draw Location: Marseilles, France
U.S. Group: F
U.S. Opponents: Germany, Iran, Yugoslavia
U.S. Finish: Fourth in Group

Results:

Date                 Opponent                      Result               U.S. Goalscorer(s)

June 15             Germany                       0-2 L                --

June 21             Iran                              1-2 L                Brian McBride

June 25             Yugoslavia                    0-1 L                --

Off the heels of their first knock out phase appearance in the modern era of FIFA World Cups, the United States had an uphill battle to climb in France. Being drawn into Group F meant Germany, Yugoslavia and Iran – one of the USA’s most recent political foes and one of the most interesting opponents in World Cup history. The U.S. left Nantes with just one goal scored in three losses.


Korea/Japan 2002
Draw Location: Busan, Korea Republic
U.S. Group: D
U.S. Opponents: Portugal, Korea Republic, Poland
U.S. Finish: Second in Group

Results:

Date                 Opponent                      Result               U.S. Goalscorer(s)

June 4               Portugal                        3-2 W               Brian McBride, Own Goal, John O’Brien

June 10             Korea Republic             1-1 T                 Clint Mathis

June 14             Poland                          1-3 L                Landon Donovan

June 17*           Mexico                          2-0 W               Brian McBride, Landon Donovan

June 21**         Germany                       0-1 L                --

Rebounding from a disappointing first round exit four years earlier, the U.S. team put up one of the surprise performances of the 2002 event. It was the second time in history that the Americans had been drawn into a group with the hosts (the first was in 1990). Along with facing Korea Republic, who eventually reached the semifinals, the U.S. had perennial powerhouse Portugal and a feisty team from Poland to deal with. In one of the biggest upsets in recent tournament history, the U.S. defeated Poland 3-2 and drew 1-1 with Korea Republic to clinch a place in the Round of 16. A famous 2-0 win against rival Mexico on the biggest stage set up a quarterfinal showing against Germany that was one for the ages, but the U.S. came just short of a semifinal berth.

Germany 2006
Draw Location: Leipzig, Germany
U.S. Group: E
U.S. Opponents: Czech Republic, Italy, Ghana
U.S. Finish: Fourth in Group

Results:

Date                 Opponent                      Result               U.S. Goalscorer(s)

June 12             Czech Republic             0-3 L                  --

June 17             Italy                              1-1 T                Own Goal

June 22             Ghana                           1-2 L                Clint Dempsey


Reminiscent of 1990, the U.S. was drawn into a group with the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) and Italy ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and was facing a team from Africa for the first time in Ghana. The U.S. entered Germany with high expectations that were dimmed by a 3-0 opening loss, but revamped in an unforgettable battle in a draw with Italy, who would go on to claim the championship. The Americans met a disappointing early exit after a loss to Ghana in the final group match.

*Round of 16
**Quarterfinals

 




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