3 times the USMNT fumbled their World Cup chances

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is set be quite the spectacle and something all fans of the USMNT will be looking forward to. Followers of the side will naturally be getting very excited about seeing top players like Christian Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson in action. 

Many will also be looking forward to adding more excitement to games involving the USA by placing bets on them. If you do plan to bet on this tournament, checking out the World Cup odds, how to bet on World Cup games and which strategies to use is a great idea. This not only enables you to get a handle on which games the USA might win but also how to bet on them – and any other sides that might be worth backing across the whole competition. 

Although the USMNT might be set to shine at this edition of the World Cup, this is not a tournament that has always been kind to them. But which have been three of the most infamous times the team have fumbled their World Cup chances? 


World Cup 2018 qualifying failure stands out

While the march to Qatar might have been a little testing at times, the facts are that the USMNT have booked their place at the upcoming World Cup. They have not always managed to progress to this stage, though, and the side’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia still lingers in fans’ memories. 

This was the first time the team had failed to make it to a World Cup since 1986 and was a real shock for many. When you look at their qualifying campaign now, the fact that they only needed a win or draw against lowly Trinidad & Tobago in the last qualifying match, but couldn’t manage it, is almost unbelievable. 

There is just no doubt that the USMNT should have had enough talent in their ranks back then to overcome Trinidad & Tobago. For whatever reason, though, this did not happen and they lost the game 2-1 in Couva. It is important also to note that the 2018 qualification debacle was not just about this final game. Out of 10 games in qualification, the USMNT won just three. This showed that the issues that cost them in Couva were already present. 


1986 qualification failure also hurt 

For many, the failure to qualify for the Mexico World Cup in 1986 was a big shock. As Mexico gained automatic qualification for the competition as hosts, it seemed to open up a golden chance for the USMNT to get to their first World Cup since 1950. There was also a good set of players to help them make it, such as Paul Caligiuri, Rick Davis and Mike Jeffries. 

The qualification campaign started out well and saw them ease past the Netherlands Antilles in two legs during 1985. Due to this, the USMNT next entered into a round-robin series of games against Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. 

With the first three results being positive, the side only needed a tie against Costa Rica in the last match to make it to Mexico. Although they created chances, they eventually went down 1-0 to a 35th-minute Evaristo Coronado goal. 


Chance to shine not taken in 1990 

Although the above two World Cup fumbles relate to qualification, there have been times that the USMNT made it onto the biggest stage in soccer – but then fluffed their lines. 1990 is a good example of this and for many fans still represents something of a missed opportunity. 

This might sound a little churlish, as the 1990 World Cup was the first World Cup tournament that the side had qualified for since 1950. It perhaps comes down to the rampant optimism that team USA fans felt heading to Italy not being fully realized, and the feeling that the team didn’t make as big an impression as we all may have hoped. 

This was certainly the case in the opening group game, which saw a morale-sapping 5-1 loss to Czechoslovakia. This scoreline was something of an embarrassment, with the soccer world watching and a missed chance to show the planet just how far the game in North America had progressed. Although subsequent losses to Italy (1-0) and Austria (2-1) were more bearable, three losses from three games saw the team on the first plane home. 


3 times team USA fumbled their World Cup chances 

When it comes to soccer’s World Cup, there is no doubt that the USMNT have not always showed their best. The only thing we can hope for is that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is one to remember fondly. 


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