Manager: Bob Bradley
Best: Third (1930)
It's a little known fact that the U.S. played the first ever World Cup match in 1930, beating Belgium 3-0, and eventually finishing a highly creditable third (let's overlook the fact that few European teams chose to participate due to the duration and costs of travel to Uruguay). There have been some other World Cup highlights for the "Red, White and Blue", most notably defeating England 1-0 in 1950 arguably the biggest shock in the history of the sport and an impressive showing in 2002 to get through a tough group, beating Portugal and losing a tight quarter-final to Germany.
Hopes have been raised for a strong showing in South Africa: The USA hasn't just drawn a favorable group, but it gave a superb showing in the Confederations Cup in South Africa last summer, ending mighty Spain's 35-match unbeaten run, and losing the final only after letting slip a two-goal lead against Brazil. Core players such as goalkeeper Tim Howard, and goalscoring threats Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan played starring roles for their clubs during the recent English season, and their skill and experience should see them into the second round although the final four may be a bridge too far.
Player to watch: Clint Dempsey holds his own in the English Premier League with Fulham and is a highly intelligent midfielder with pace to burn and an eye for goal.