For the casual soccer fans wondering, “has the USA ever made the World Cup Final?” we have some bummer news. The men’s team has never made it to the finale of the World Cup.
The USA women’s team, on the other hand, has been to five World Cup finals and have won four times.
Has The USA Ever Made The World Cup Final? (Men’s Team)
No. The best they’ve ever done is third place.
The men’s FIFA World Cup trophy is the most difficult piece of hardware to acquire in sports, especially if you aren’t from either Europe or South America. No team outside of those two continents has ever even played in the final before. That’s how dominant the confederations of UEFA (Europe) and CONMEBOL (South America) are.
Morocco making it to this year’s semifinal was perhaps the greatest Cinderella story in World Cup history. Morocco was only the third team outside of Europe or South America to make the semifinals since the first edition of the tournament in 1930.
The USA is one of those three.
In the 1930 World Cup — hosted by Uruguay — the USA finished third, however, there’s a major asterisk. There were only 13 teams that competed with most of the European teams not wanting to make the long journey by ship. France, Yugoslavia, Romania and Belgium were the only four that made the trip.
Meanwhile Japan and Thailand withdrew from the tournament and Egypt didn’t make it to Uruguay in time after being delayed by a storm in the Mediterranean. How the times have changed.
The USA finished first in a three-team group that also had Belgium and Paraguay. The USA won both games 3-0.
When Bart McGhee scored for the United States in the 23rd minute of their 13 July 1930 match against Belgium, the Scottish-born forward made history as the first foreign-born scorer in World Cup history. 2/x pic.twitter.com/1haQXkAHt4— Zach Bigalke (@zbigalke) December 13, 2022
The reward for making out of the group stage was an automatic trip to the semifinals. No Round of 16 or quarterfinals, just right to the semis.
Argentina spanked the U.S. 6-1 in the semifinal game but then went on to lose the final against Uruguay 4-2.
There wasn’t a third-place game, however in 1986 FIFA reviewed the 1930 World Cup and determined that the USA would be given third place ahead of the other semifinal loser Yugoslavia. FIFA based this decision on overall results and quality of the opposition.
That’s the story of how the first non-European or South American team made the semifinals. It would be 72 years before South Korea accomplished the same feat at the 2002 World Cup.
Will The USA Men’s Team Ever Win A World Cup?
Not likely. The USA has made great strides to improve in soccer on the men’s side and has qualified for eight of the last nine World Cups. Hosting in 2026 should also be a huge boost for the sport in the country.
Actually winning the World Cup? I doubt it will happen in my lifetime despite the fact I’m only 23 years old. If the USA were to make another semifinal that would basically be as good as winning it for this writer in particular.