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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK

States of euphoria

By Sean Wheelock

Despite its relatively small stature in the world of football, the United States have nevertheless recorded several impressive results in their 117-year international competitive history.

With the USA now preparing to appear in a seventh World Cup, BBC Sport Online recalls their five greatest football victories.


US 2-0 Mexico
Concacaf World Cup Qualifier
Ohio, 28 February 2001

Although this was just the first of 10 qualification matches, the United States knew that a result at home against their arch-rivals was of vital importance.

To help tip matters in their favour, the US Soccer Federation elected to hold the match in the Midwestern City of Columbus, Ohio, at the small but noisy Crew Stadium.

Played in freezing temperatures and in front of a beyond-capacity crowd of 24,500 - the first ever between the two nations held in the US with more American support than Mexican - everything was in place.

What followed was a dominant US defensive performance.

Second-half goals by Josh Wolff and Ernie Stewart were enough to give the USA their first win against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier since 1980.


US 2-1 Colombia
World Cup
California, 22 June 1994

Having opened their World Cup campaign with a fortunate 1-1 draw against Switzerland four days earlier, the States had to beat hot favourites Colombia to maintain a chance of advancing to the second round.

With a sell-out crowd of 94,000 at the Rose Bowl, the US took the lead just past the half-hour cthrough an Andres Escobar own goal.

In the 50th minute Ernie Stewart made it 2-0, rendering Adolpho Valencia's last-minute strike a mere consolation.

The win over Colombia proved to be the difference in advancing the host nation through to the knock-out stage.


US 1-0 Brazil
Concacaf Gold Cup semi-final
Los Angeles, 10 February 1998

This was the night former Leicester City and Millwall goalkeeper Kasey Keller wrote himself into US soccer history.

Despite completely dominating, Brazil became increasingly frustrated by the US team.

All their efforts came to no avail when they were caught by a counter-attack, finished by US substitute Preki Radosavljevic's left-footed drive from 22 yards.

What then followed was an even more furious attack by Brazil, repeatedly turned away by Keller in a performance that is heralded as the greatest ever by an American goalkeeper.

He made no less than 10 superb saves, and the US claimed their first, and to date, only win against the four-time World Cup champions.


US 1-0 Trinidad & Tobago
Concacaf World Cup qualifier
Trinidad, 19 November 1989

Going into this final qualifying match, the US were given virtually no chance winning a place at Italia 90.

They had to win in front of 40,000 passionate Trinidad & Tobago fans who had turned out to see their team gain the point they needed to qualify.

But as the hosts pushed forward, they were caught out by Paul Caligiuri's dipping shot from 35 yards out.

Immediately labelled as a "shot heard around the world", Caligiuri's strike propelled the US to their first World Cup appearance after a 40-year absence.


US 1-0 England
World Cup, Brazil, 29 June 1950.

A hastily-assembled squad of part-timers who barely knew each other when they began the year, the United States were questioned as a legitimate entry into the World Cup, let alone an opponent to be taken seriously by England.

The fans expected the Americans to be thrashed as a matter of course by an England side tipped to win.

But in what is arguably the greatest upset in World Cup history - and without question the biggest victory ever by the US in the sport - the unthinkable happened.

A 37th-minute goal by French-speaking Haitian immigrant Joe Gaetjens, the brilliant goalkeeping of Frank Borghi, and some amazingly good luck, produced an unimaginable scoreline.

So much so that many newspapers around the world reported the result as a victory by England of 11-1 or 10-0, believing that a typographical error had occurred in the transmission "US 1-0 England".


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