2014 - BRAZIL
United States finish: Round of 16; (1-1-2)
Group: G - USA, Germany, Ghana, Portugal
Summary: The U.S. fell to Belgium, 2-1, in heartbreaking fashion in extra time in the Round of 16. Despite allowing two goals in extra time, Tim Howard had a career game with 16 saves, the most in a World Cup match since 1966.
Team USA opened the tournament with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ghana, who had eliminated the Americans from the previous two World Cups. The U.S. then tied Portugal, 2-2, after a last-second goal from Portugal's Varela in stoppage time. The U.S. fell to Germany but got help from Portugal, who defeated Ghana in the final group stage game, to advance.
2006 - GERMANY
United States finish: 1st round (0-2-1)
Group: E - USA, Czech Republic, Italy, Ghana
Summary: The U.S. owned a high FIFA ranking and had lofty expectations entering the 2006 tournament, but were greeted harshly with a 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic in its opening game. The Americans then battled Italy to a gritty, 1-1 draw in the next game and still had hopes of advancing heading into the final match against African power Ghana. Clint Dempsey finally managed to net the Americans' first (and only) goal of the tournament -- their goal against Italy was an own goal -- by tying the game shortly before halftime. Ghana, however, had an answer and prevailed, 2-1, to send the U.S. back home with a disappointing result.
2002 - JAPAN / SOUTH KOREA
United States finish: quarterfinals (2-2-1)
Group: D - USA, Portugal, South Korea, Poland
Summary: The U.S. began the tournament with a bang, racing out to a 3-0 lead against Group D favorites Portugal and holding on for a 3-2 win. The Americans then tied South Korea to almost assure themselves a spot in the next round. They lost to Poland, 3-1, in the group stage's final game, but still took second place in their group behind hosts South Korea. In the Round of 16, the U.S. defeated rival Mexico, 2-0, on goals by Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. In the next round against Germany, a first-half goal by Michael Ballack was all the Germans would need to edge the Americans, who finished with their most successful World Cup result of all time (with apologies to the 1930 squad, which needed only two wins to advance to the semifinals).
1998 - FRANCE
United States finish: 1st round (0-3)
Group: F - USA, Germany, Iran, Yugoslavia
Summary: All of the momentum gained from hosting and performing well in the previous World Cup was flushed down the drain four years later in France. The Americans, competing in Group F, opened the tournament with a 2-0 loss to Germany, which was to be expected. But the U.S. followed with a dreadful 2-1 loss to Iran and exited the tournament after a 1-0 loss to Yugoslavia. More than a decade later, head coach Steve Sampson finally addressed a bizarre story that may have contributed to the Americans' poor showing. Former captain John Harkes was left off the squad at the last minute because of an alleged affair with teammate Eric Wynalda's wife -- a claim that Wynalda admitted and Harkes denied.
1994 - UNITED STATES
United States finish: Round of 16 (1-2-1)
Group: A - USA, Switzerland, Colombia, Romania
Summary: The U.S. hosted the World Cup finals for the first time and put on a show by smashing attendance records in its massive stadiums across the country. The Americans also advanced out of the group stage for the first time since 1930, going 1-1-1 against Switzerland, Colombia and Romania. In their second game against the Colombians, the deciding goal would prove to be an own goal by Andres Escobar, who was tragically shot for his misdeed upon returning to his home country. The U.S. advanced to the second round to face the favored Brazilians, who edged the Americans, 1-0, en route to winning the tournament over Roberto Baggio and the Italians.
1990 - ITALY
United States finish: 1st round (0-3)
Group: A - USA, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Austria
Summary: After a 40-year hiatus, the Americans landed back in the World Cup. Their visit to Italy, however, did not begin well with a 5-1 loss to Czechoslovakia. The U.S. then fell to Italy, 1-0, and Austria, 2-1, and exited after the group stage.
1950 - BRAZIL
United States finish: 1st round (1-2)
Group: 2 - USA, Spain, England, Chile
Summary: The Americans were placed in Group 2 with Spain, England and Chile, and though they pulled off a massive 1-0 upset over England, they failed to advance to the next round after losses against Spain (3-1) and Chile (5-2). The win over England, later dubbed the "Miracle on Grass," was one of the most improbable upsets in American sports history. Before the tournament began, the English were reportedly 3-to-1 favorites to win the tournament, while the Americans were given a 500-to-1 shot. This was the first World Cup held since 1938 due to cancellation of the event in '42 and '46 because of World War II.
1934 - ITALY
United States finish: 1st round (0-1)
Group: no group stage
Summary: The U.S. won a one-game playoff with Mexico -- held in Rome -- to enter the 16-team main draw of the tournament, which was one of two times the World Cup did not utilize a round-robin format. In the first-round knockout stage, the Americans fell to Italy, 7-1.
1930 - URUGUAY
United States finish: 3rd place (2-1)
Group: 4 - USA, Paraguay, Belgium
Summary: In the inaugural tournament, 13 teams made the trip to Uruguay and were divided into four groups. The U.S. breezed through its three-team group with a pair of 3-0 wins to advance to the semifinals, where it fell to Argentina, 6-1. The third-place match between the Americans and Yugoslavia never took place, although a the U.S. was later recognized as the third-place team based on rankings.