ULSAN, Korea (Friday, June 21, 2002) - Despite putting together perhaps its best single-game performance of the tournament, the U.S. Men’s National Team’s historic run to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals came to an end today in Ulsan, Korea, where they fell 1-0 to three-time world champion Germany. Despite controlling the majority of the match and posting an 11-6 shot advantage, the U.S. was held scoreless by world class goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who posted six amazing saves on the day. [Note: The USA-Germany match will be rebroadcast tomorrow afternoon on ABC at 1 p.m. ET.]
With the loss, the team will head back to the U.S. this weekend having produced its best showing in U.S. World Cup history in the modern era (since the tournament expanded to 24 teams in 1982, then later to 32 teams in 1998) and having equaled their best ever performance at a World Cup, when the USA won two games, scored seven goals and advanced to the semi-finals at the 13-team 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.
“We’re disappointed, because we felt that we should have won. But that’s why they’re so good, because they can play games like this where maybe they're not the best team and still win,” said U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who wasn’t called on to make a single save in the match, but was one of the keys to the USA’s unparalleled success at Korea/Japan. “It’s been incredible; we had a great ride. The satisfying thing is that we’re going to go home knowing that we could’ve gone a little further. We never once got played off the park over here. We can go home with our heads held high.”
The U.S. started the match in the same 3-5-2 formation that was so effective in Monday’s 2-0 win over Mexico in the Round of 16, but with defender Frankie Hejduk back in the lineup at right midfielder (after serving a yellow card suspension for the last match) and Landon Donovan moving to the forward position to replace Josh Wolff.
Contrary to its last three matches, the U.S. owned the majority of the possession and imposed its offensive attack on its opponent, starting about 15 minutes into match and continuing into the final seconds of injury time.
The first solid U.S. opportunity came in the 13th minute on a quick counter-attack when forward Landon Donovan found midfielder Eddie Lewis on the left flank. Lewis sent a low cross intended for forward Brian McBride that German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was forced to dive off his line and punch away from danger.
Donovan, who was named Chevy Man of the Match in the landmark win over CONCACAF rival Mexico earlier this week, was again the most potent scoring threat for the USA. The 20-year-old had one of the team’s best scoring chances of the match in the 17th minute when he received the ball 25 yards from the goal, cutback and played the ball through the legs of Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann, took a touch to line up a shot and uncorked a left-footed blast that Kahn barely got a hand on to push just wide of the post.
The Redlands, Calif., native had another glorious opportunity to give the U.S. an important 1-0 lead in the 30th minute when he beat the offside trap by running on to a looping ball from captain Claudio Reyna and dribbled in on Kahn with a defender converging, but the ‘keeper expertly came off his line and cut down the angle to force Donovan to take a quick shot, which the 33-year-old veteran blocked out for a corner kick.
Germany had two decent chances of their own within a two-minute span starting in the 34th minute, but couldn’t find the back of the net. A cross from the left side found a closely-marked Oliver Neuville in the box about 10 yards out, but his forced bicycle kick was blocked off the face of Lewis. On the following corner kick, German playmaker Michael Ballack rose above the U.S. defense enough to flick a header back in the direction of the goal, but wide of the target.
Less than a minute later, the U.S. had its third serious scoring chance in an almost identical build-up to the USA’s first goal against Mexico. Forward Brian McBride started the play by beating a defender down the left flank and sending a low cross to Donovan at the near post. Donovan had a quick touch, but the ball was poorly cleared to Lewis at the top of the box, where he spanked a sizzling, rising shot that Kahn parried high in the air. Donovan was there to bring down the rebound, but his volley sailed harmlessly across the mouth of the goal.
Germany struck back and scored the eventual game winner in the 39th minute. Having missed the target in his last header attempt from point-blank range, Ballack made no mistake with his second effort off a 35-yard Christian Ziege free kick, rising between Tony Sanneh and Frankie Hejduk and snapping a header downward under the arms of U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel for a 1-0 lead.
The U.S. dodged a bullet and a possible 2-0 deficit in the 43rd minute, when German scoring sensation Miroslav Klose slipped behind Lewis to connect on a cross, but his header rocked the post and was cleared to keep the score at 1-0 heading into halftime.
Attacking from the opening seconds of the second half, the U.S. looked to have scored the crucial equalizer in the 50th minute off a flying volley from defender Gregg Berhalter that beat a diving Kahn, but the shot was saved by midfielder Torsten Frings, who was positioned inside the post. While the shot appeared to have crossed the line and struck Frings on the left forearm, no goal was awarded.
Another equalizing opportunity came and went in the 64th minute after a dangerous clearance by Kahn. After coming all of the way out of the box to clear a long Lewis through ball intended for second-half sub Clint Mathis, the goalkeeper had to rush back to goal as his clearance was collected by Reyna on the other side of the midfield stripe. Reyna quickly looked up and cranked a 60-yard shot on goal, but it hooked wide left.
In a sign of the USA’s second-half dominance, Germany didn’t get off its first shot in the second half until the 74th minute, when Neuville made a great individual run slashing through the U.S. defense but shot high over the crossbar.
The last U.S. scoring chance was its closest of the match, but found the wrong side of the net. With just one minute left in regulation, a perfect Mathis cross from deep on the right flank found Sanneh at the far post, but he sent his snap header just inches wide of the post into the side netting.
After setting the U.S. record for all-time World Cup appearances at 10 games by appearing as substitutes in the 2-0 win over Mexico on June 21, veteran midfielders Jones and Stewart again came off the bench in the second half as the USA pushed for the equalizer and increased the U.S. record at 11 World Cup caps. Retired U.S. midfielder Tab Ramos was the record-holder coming into the 2002 World Cup, having earned nine World Cup caps across the 1990, ’94 and ’98 tournaments. Jones and Stewart made their World Cup debuts in 1994 and have appeared in the two Cups since.
The U.S. is now 2-5-0 all-time against Germany, having lost to the three-time World Cup champions 4-2 earlier this year on March 27 in Rostock. Today’s match was the second time the two teams have met in World Cup play, with the U.S. having lost 2-0 to Germany in each team’s first group match of the 1998 World Cup.
Other notes: The U.S. finished the tournament with a 2-2-1 record, with seven Goals For and seven Goals Against (the best goal differential since the 1930 World Cup, in which the U.S. has a +1 mark, scoring seven goals and giving up six) … The U.S. is now 6-14-2 all-time in World Cup competition …The U.S. is now 0-13-1 all-time when conceding the first goal in World Cup matches, including both losses at 2002 Korea/Japan … In yet another intense and physical match, the U.S. received five yellow cards in the match, equal to the number received in the 2-0 win over Mexico in the Round of 16 on June 17.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: United States World Cup Team vs. Germany
Competition: 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan – Quarterfinals
Venue: Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium (Ulsan, Korea)
Date: June 21, 2002 – 8:30 p.m. (local) / 7:30 a.m. ET
Weather: 76 degrees; cool, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
United States 0 - 0 - 0
Germany 1 - 0 - 1
GER – Michael Ballack (Christian Ziege), 39.
USA: 1-Brad Friedel; 3-Gregg Berhalter, 23-Eddie Pope, 22-Tony Sanneh; 4-Pablo Mastroeni (8-Earnie Stewart, 80), 7-Eddie Lewis, 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.), 2-Frankie Hejduk (13-Cobi Jones, 65), 5-John O’Brien; 21-Landon Donovan, 20-Brian McBride (11-Clint Mathis, 58).
Subs Not Used: 6-David Regis, 9-Joe-Max Moore, 15-Josh Wolff, 16-Carlos Llamosa, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Tony Meola.
GER: 1-Oliver Kahn (capt.); 21-Christoph Metzelder, 15-Sebastian Kehl, 2-Thomas Linke; 19-Bernd Schneider (16-Jans Jeremies, 60), 8-Dietmar Hamann, 6-Christian Ziege, 22-Torsten Frings, 13-Michael Ballack; 7-Oliver Neuville (17-Marco Bode, 80), 11-Miroslav Klose (20-Oliver Bierhoff, 88).
Subs Not Used: 3-Marko Rehmer, 4-Frank Baumann, 5-Carsten Ramelow, 9-Carsten Jancker, 10-Lars Ricken, 12-Jens Lehmann, 14-Gerald Asamoah, 18-Joerg Boehme, 23-Hans-Jorg Butt.
Statistical Summary: USA - GER
Shots: 11 - 6
Saves: 0 - 6
Corner Kicks: 6 - 6
Fouls: 23 - 14
Offside: 4 - 2
USA – Eddie Lewis (caution), 40.
USA – Eddie Pope (caution), 41.
GER – Sebastian Kehl (caution), 66.
GER – Oliver Neuville (caution), 68.
USA – Claudio Reyna (caution), 68.
USA – Pablo Mastroeni (caution), 69.
USA – Gregg Berhalter (caution), 70.
Referee: Hugh Dallas (SCO)
Assistant Referee #1: Philip Sharp (ENG)
Assistant Referee #2: Ali Al-Traifi (KSA)
Fourth Official: Mark Shield (AUS)
Chevrolet Man of Match: Tony Sanneh