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USA - Brazil World Cup 2014

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FIFA World Cup finals history

The first US team to turn up at a FIFA world finals earned the dubious nickname of the ‘shot-putters’ for their muscular and burly nature, but 3-0 wins over Paraguay and Belgium in 1930 was enough for a third-place finish, to this day the best placing for any team outside of Europe or South America. Four years later the Americans went out in the first round, but they caused a grand sensation in Brazil in 1950 when, led by outstanding goalkeeper Frank Borghi, they managed to beat mighty England in Belo Horizante in an upsets for the ages. Another first-round exit came in 1990, but as hosts in 1994 they managed to reach the knockout rounds, a result that paved the way to more consistency. 

Key players
Jozy Altidore, of English Premier League outfit Sunderland, emerged as the complete package during the final qualifying competition. Left out of the team due to poor form and attitude in the semi-final round,  Klinsmann reconsidered and wasn’t let down by his burly striker, who scored goals for fun and was the perfect partner for Clint Dempsey in attack. Landon Donovan, long-time creative icon of the US national, made a return to football after a self-imposed months-long ‘sabbatical’ and linked up beautifully with the sturdy central midfield presence of Roma’s Michael Bradley. With Tim Howard still a dominant presence between the sticks, the Americans are loaded with ability wherever you look. 

Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
Best performances in a FIFA Competition: FIFA World Cup Uruguay 1930 (Third place), FIFA Confederations Cup Saudi Arabia 1992, Mexico 1999 (Third place), FIFA U-20 World Cup Saudi Arabia 1989 (Fourth place), FIFA U-17 World Cup New Zealand 1999 (Fourth place), FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 (Second place)
Former stars: John Harkes, Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride