Despite a 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica, on Wednesday night the United States Men’s National Team qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The USMNT kicked off Sunday, knocking out Panama 5-1, all but guaranteeing a World Cup spot. Led by a hat-trick from Christian Pulisic against Panama, the United States had to avoid disaster on Wednesday.
In the match against Costa Rica, the final score was the only score between the USMNT and a World Cup berth. They just need to avoid a loss by six goals or more to move forward.
The United States needs to finish among the top three of the CONCACAF group to progress to the World Cup. USMNT ranked second in the group with a difference of 6-4-2, only three points behind the leader, Canada (7-4-1). Mexico (6-4-2) also topped the group with the US and Canada.
The World Cup stop was the first stop for the USMNT since 2014. That year the United States reached the round of 16, being eliminated in a heartbreaking situation against Belgium, with a score of 2-1.
In 2018, the USMNT failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986, breaking the United States’ seven consecutive World Cup qualifying streak. Overall, the USMNT has entered the World Cup 10 times since 1930, reaching the round of 16 or higher six times.
The United States joins 28 other countries that have qualified for the World Cup. The 2022 World Cup, hosted by Qatar, will begin on November 21 and run until December 18.