FIFA World Cup™ finals history
The USA team that turned up at the first FIFA world finals in 1930 earned the dubious nickname of the ‘shot-putters’ for their bulky builds. But they proved detractors wrong with a third-place finish, to this day the best placing for any team outside of Europe or South America. They also caused a sensation in Brazil in 1950 when they beat mighty England in Belo Horizante in an upset for the ages. The Americans reached the knockout rounds as hosts in 1994 after decades of failing to qualify for the global showpiece and that success paved the way for more consistency - a quarter-final run in 2002 and two consecutive trips to the Round of 16 in 2010 and 2014.

The team
Jurgen Klinsmann, who won the World Cup as a player with West Germany in 1990, has set the lofty goal of a place in the semi-finals for his Stars and Stripes at Russia 2018. To that end, the German boss is leaving no stone unturned as he hunts for talent in the States and its ex-patriot communities abroad. Veterans like midfielder Michael Bradley, goalkeeper Tim Howard and the forward pairing of Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore remain as the core of the side, complimented by new faces like Norway-born schemer Mix Diskerud and Germany-based wing-back Fabian Johnson.

The coach
One of the best strikers of his generation, Klinsmann has been in charge of the American side since 2011. His main and oft-stated goal is to make the Stars and Stripes a more proactive and less reactive team. “We want to go eye-to-eye with the big nations” he told FIFA.com. He spends much of his time experimenting with playing personnel from every category of the American soccer pyramid, from MLS and NASL to professional leagues abroad and even the university ranks.

The stat
7 –
the number of consecutive World Cup finals in which the Americans have taken part. When they reached Italy 1990 it ended a run of 40 years in the international wilderness.

The former stars
Frank Borghi, John Harkes, Claudio Reyna, Tab Ramos, Brian McBride, Landon Donovan