May 11, 2006
Random World Cup Facts: United States
Times Qualified: 8
Best Finish: Semifinals (1930)
Best World Cup Results:
1930: United States 3-0 Paraguay (The second of back-to-back 3-0 victories in the tournament saw Bert Patenaude become the first player to ever score a hat trick in a World Cup finals.)
1950: United States 1-0 England (Widely acknowledged as one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.)
Top Political Issue: President Bush continues to see his popularity decline amidst high gasoline prices and immigration concerns amongst other issues.
Other Random Facts: The United States are the current holders of the Olympic Rugby title winning it in 1924 from a field of three entrants. Fell from 8th to 10th in the Human Development Index table between 2003 and 2005.
The Team: This is the fifth straight World Cup for the Americans and the second under manager Bruce Arena. They are also the current holders of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the much devalued continental competition. American players continue to move to Europe at an increasing pace with Germany and Holland among the most popular destinations.
Players to Watch: Kasey Keller (Gladbach), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) and DaMarcus Beasley (PSV) are expected to produce at a high level at this World Cup. Eddie Lewis (Leeds) is also worth watching as he attempts to play left back instead of his usual left midfield role.
Chances: The Americans missed a seed by one point and to further compound their misery, they were dumped into this tournament's Group of Death. A win against Ghana and a draw against either Italy and the Czech Republicis the minimum needed for the Americans to advance.
Prediction: 2nd round before being dumped out by Brazil.