The United States national football team have a good history in FIFA world cup competitions. They have appeared in the last seven finals tournaments and hosted the 1994 competition.
The team caused an upset in the 2009 confederations cup when they defeated European champions, and future world cup winners, Spain in the semi-final. The United States were narrowly defeated by Brazil in the final.
Before the team’s qualification for the 1990 world cup, the United States had undergone a long absence from the finals tournament. Their last performance, before 1990, was in 1950 when they achieved a surprise 1-0 win over England.
Football has long struggled in the United States due to other sports’ popularity. Baseball is the country’s national sport. American football is the biggest spectator sport. Other sports such as basketball and ice hockey have also always traditionally been superior to football. Golf, tennis and athletics all feature Americans on the world stage.
Football in the United States has been aided by a sort of celebrity culture. Big name footballers such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry have gone to Major League Soccer and helped bring a worldwide profile to the league.