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Wednesday’s Group E thriller between Germany and Costa Rica resulted in both teams being eliminated from the FIFA World Cup tournament after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in their group. Just a couple of hours earlier, Canada also failed to secure their place in the knockout stage with a 2-1 loss to Group F winners Morocco. This left the USMNT as the last CONCACAF team standing in the tournament.

The fourth CONCACAF team in the World Cup was Mexico, who despite their Match Day 3 win over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, was still knocked out of the tournament after Poland finished second behind Leonel Messi and Argentina in Group C on goal difference. Right now, it’s the United States are the only CONCACAF side that is advancing to the Group of 16, with their World Cup dreams still intact:

The fact that this is the first time that the USMNT has progressed to the knockout stage as the sole CONCACAF representative simply speaks volumes of how much progress football has made in the United States. The Americans put in a lot of effort (and money) in developing their players and the squad through the years, and it has now paid dividends for them.

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This achievement becomes even more monumental once you consider the fact that the USMNT didn’t even qualify for the tournament in Russia in 2018. That was the first time in three decades that the United States failed to reach the World Cup Finals, and it is clear that they took the last four years to work on their failure.

The USMNT is not exactly a favorite to go all the way this year by any stretch, but at this point, you just can’t count them out.



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