Below is the latest in an ongoing series of weekly World Cup updates coming to you every Wednesday from the U.S. Soccer Communications Center. As a build-up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the forthcoming articles are being presented to educate and entertain the U.S. Soccer Family about the great worldwide history of the tournament and U.S. Soccer as the U.S. Men's National Team prepares for the 2002 event in Korea/Japan this June.
FOUR WINS AND A DRAW IN DETROIT …
A Look Back at the Five Positive Results in U.S. MNT World Cup History
On October 7, 2001, when the U.S. Men’s National Team learned they had advanced to the 2002 World Cup, it marked the seventh time the U.S. would be eligible to participate in the final round of the World Cup. In the six previous final round tournaments the U.S. has played in, the American squad has posted a 4-12-1 record, including wins in three of their first six matches. The following are brief summaries of the four wins and one draw that the U.S. has recorded in final round World Cup play.
U.S. 3, Belgium 0
July 13, 1930
Central Park Stadium in Montevideo
The U.S. opened the first-ever FIFA World Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over Belgium, producing the first-ever World Cup shutout in just the second game in the history of the tournament. The U.S. opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when forward Bart McGhee (New York Nationals S.C. – ASL) finished off a Bert Patenaude (Fall River Marksmen – ASL) shot that rebounded from the crossbar. Captain Thomas Florie (New Bedford Whalers – ASL) made it 2-0, beating the offside trap to score just before the half. Midfielder James Brown (New York Giants – ASL) unselfishly lobbed a pass over the head of the Belgium goalie to an open Patenaude, who scored an empty netter in the 69th minute for the USA’s third goal. U.S. goalkeeper James Douglas (New York Nationals S.C. – ASL) commanded the backline to earn the first shutout in World Cup history. The team, which would go on to finish in third place, was nicknamed “the shot-putters” by the French, because of the players’ tremendous bulk.
U.S. 3, Paraguay 0
July 17, 1930
Central Park Stadium in Montevideo
The U.S. needed a win in its second and final group match to advance to the semifinals. What the U.S. got via a 3-0 win against Paraguay, was a spot in the semifinals, a second straight shutout, the first hat-trick in World Cup play and the Group 4 title. A crowd of 20,000 saw Bert Patenaude (Fall River Marksmen – ASL) enter the World Cup record books, recording the first hat-trick in World Cup competition. Patenaude, the U.S. center forward, started his historic day with a goal in the 10th minute, and five minutes later the National Soccer Hall of Famer’s shot was deflected into the goal by Paraguay’s Ramon Gonzales. The tally was originally ruled an own goal, but FIFA later changed the decision and credited the U.S. striker with the goal. Patenaude completed his hat trick with a tally in the 50th minute, while goalkeeper James Douglas (New York Nationals S.C. – ASL) once again earned a shutout in goal for the Americans.
U.S. 1, England 0
June 29, 1950
Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
After dropping a heartbreaking 3-1 decision to Spain in the Group 2 opener four days earlier, the U.S. rebounded to produce one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history with a shocking 1-0 win over pre-tournament favorite England 1-0. The only tally of the match came in the 38th minute when forward Joseph Gaetjens (New York Brookhattan – ASL) headed in a shot by midfielder Walter Bahr (Philadelphia Nationals – ASL). In the second half, England pushed players forward in search of the equalizer, but a strong backline led by defender Harry Keough (St. Louis McMahon – SLSL) and several key saves by goalkeeper Frank Borghi (St. Louis Simpkins F.C. – SLSL) kept the English scoreless. When the final whistle was blown by the Italian Referee Generoso D’Attilo, many in the Brazilian crowd of 10,151 stormed onto the field and carried the Americans off the field as if they had won the World Cup. The game marks the last time the U.S. shut out an opponent in the World Cup. Gaetjens, Keough, Bahr, Borghi and the entire 1950 team were eventually inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.
U.S. 1, Switzerland 1
June 18, 1994
Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Mich.
The U.S. earned their first points in World Cup play since 1950 after a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Switzerland in front of 73,425 spectators in the first World Cup match played indoors. After falling behind in the 39th minute, the USA answered five minutes later when forward Eric Wynalda fired a perfect 28-yard free kick into the upper-right hand corner of the Swiss net. Both squads had several opportunities to take the lead in the second half, but neither could break the 1-1 deadlock. The draw was crucial in allowing both Switzerland and the U.S. to advance to the Round of 16.
U.S. 2, Colombia 1
June 22, 1994
Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
A U.S. Soccer-record crowd of 93,689 saw the USA eliminate pre-tournament favorite Colombia with a 2-1 victory. The U.S. got on the board first after Colombian defender Andres Escobar inadvertently deflected John Harkes’ cross into the Colombian net. Colombia pushed for the equalizer, and the U.S. took advantage of the open space behind the South American defenders in the second half. Forward Earnie Stewart finished off a pass from midfielder Tab Ramos in the 52nd minute, shooting past Colombian goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba. The U.S. lead nearly increased even more when U.S. defender Marcelo Balboa just missed with a spectacular bicycle kick and an Alexi Lalas goal was called back after a dubious offside call. Colombia pulled a goal back through forward Adolfo Valencia two minutes into injury time, but it was not enough to stop the Americans from winning 2-1. Despite a loss to Romania in their final group game, the victory over Colombia would be enough to put the U.S. into the Round of 16.