World Cups Past - The 2000's

Published: May 15, 2014 09:00am EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated May 15, 2014 @ 09:00am EDT


The final countdown to the World Cup has now begun and we are little over a month away now from the kick off in Brazil on June 12th. The USA will take the field against Ghana four days later at the Arena das Dunas, Natal. Drawn in a group which also include Portugal and Germany it is vital Klinsmannís team hit the ground running.†

Over the next few days I will look at the United States participation in all the World Cups throughout the history of the competition dating back to the 1930's. Obviously there was no World Cupís in the 1940's with the ones scheduled for 1942 and 1946 cancelled due to the Second World War.†

Last week, I looked at the World Cups through the 1960's and 1970's which didnít involve the US side. England did host, and win, the 1966 World Cup and this week I will wrap up the look back. On Tuesday I looked at the 1980's in Spain and Mexico which were both again devoid of any US participation while yesterday it was the turn of the 1990's, including the 1994 tournament in the USA.†

Today is the final installment, and I will focus on the World Cups of the 2000's including Japan and Korea in 2002, Germany in 2006 and, of course, the most recent South African tournament in 2010.


This was the first World Cup held on Asia and with two host nations. France were the holders coming into the tournament but knew it would be tough after falling to an unlikely 1-0 defeat to Senegal in their opening game. Of course, at one point, Senegal was under French rule and so it must have been nice to get one over on their one time colonial rulers.†

A single draw against Uruguay wasnít enough to stop the French bowing out and heading home. The USA did much better, even though they were in a Group with Portugal, Poland and co-hosts South Korea. A fantastic 3-2 win against Portugal and following draw with South Korea proved enough to see the USA through despite their final group game defeat to Poland. The round of 16 saw the USA progress at the expense of Mexico thanks to goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan.†

The Quarter Final tie with Germany was a step too far but still the 2002 World Cup has seen the best return for the US fans.

For England they beat Argentina in their group stage either side of tied games with Sweden and Nigeria. That was enough for progression and a round of 16 defeat, 3-0, of Denmark saw England also progress to the Quarter Finals. There their progression was halted by Brazil and it would be the two teams defeating the English and Americans who would meet in the Final to contest the 17th trophy. Brazil won their fifth title while Turkey got third place and South Korea finished fourth.†


After such a good run in the previous World Cup for the US side, it would be hard for the team to replicate a similar run in Germany. What was not expected though was the very disappointing showing from the side and resulted in the replacement of Bruce Arena and appointment of Bob Bradley.†

A 3-0 opening defeat to the Czech Republic was then erased after a fantastic point against Italy. Going into the last game of the group against Ghana the US were still in with a shout as a win against Ghana would give them four points. That, along with an Italian win, which was expected, would see them through. The Italians won their game but the USA fell 2-1 to Ghana, eliminating the USA with just a single point and seeing Ghana join Italy in the next round.

For England the story was a little better, but not much. Two wins against Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago saw the English all but qualified when they faced Sweden. A draw in that game saw England qualify top and would face Ecuador in the last 16. A lone Beckham goal saw the English progress but then faced Portugal and eventual elimination. 0-0 after extra time and once again England failed from the penalty spot, missing three of their four penalties. Once again an England player, in this case Wayne Rooney, was sent off in a vital game leaving the team at a disadvantage.†

Italy met a much improved French team in the Final and both sides scored in the first twenty minutes. The game ended 1-1 and was heading into the final stages of extra time when Zinedine Zidane head butted his opponent, Marco Matarazzi, and was sent off.†

This must have had an effect on the French who no doubt would have had Zidane take one of their five penalties. As it was Italy scored all five of theirs to go through after David Trezeguet missed Franceís second.†


Now we move to the African continent and the first time the World Cup was staged in this part of the world. South Africa were the first host nation to get eliminated at the Group Stage, although to be fair to them, they did have more points than the USA when they hosted it. In 1994 though there were less teams and so the top few third placed teams went through, and that was the difference.

The USA were drawn in the group with England and faced each other in the opening game. England quickly went 1-0 up after Steven Gerrard beat Tim Howard with just four minutes on the clock.†

Five minutes before half time though Clint Dempsey equalized with what was a harmless shot which Robert Green mishandled. The goalkeeper was then dubbed as the ĎHand of Clodí a reworking of the Maradona handball in twenty four years earlier.†

Both teams ended game one and two with draws and so both knew wins in their last games would see each one through. Both did get 1-0 wins, the USA beating Algeria in Pretoria while the English beat Slovenia in Port Elizabeth.†

In the last 16 both sides met their bogey teams as the USA were defeated, and eliminated, in their second successive World Cup by Ghana. For the English it was the Germans again who halted their campaign. This time though it was a 4-1 spanking and represented the first time in World Cup history when this tie was decided in normal time. In four previous meetings one went to penalties and two, including the 1966 England World Cup win, were in extra time. The other of course was a group game in which a winner was not required.†


Well, thatís it. As far as the previous World Cups go we are all up to date. The World Cup in Brazil 2014 will be kicking off the 20th running of the tournament will kick off in Sao Paulo on the 12th June. Hosts Brazil kick off the tournament against Croatia as nations look on. 31 days, and 64 games later, the winner will lift the trophy in Rio de Janeiro.

Hopes for the USA are lukewarm but will certainly raise a notch if they beat their bogy team, Ghana, in their opening game in Natal on June 16th.†


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