You can’t win ’em all. In fact, sometimes you get beat pretty badly. For US Soccer, on the men’s side anyway, they haven’t always been a respectable team, and defeats were pretty common. But what is the worst loss ever for the USA soccer team?
Worst loss for USA over 70 years ago
Luckily for USMNT fans, the game in question was long before most were even born. It was actually in what you could call the dark ages for the sport in America. A time when no major professional league existed in the country, and the national team was largely a non-factor on the international scene.
On August 6, 1948, the USA were in Oslo, Norway for an international friendly.
In front of a crowd of around 25,000 fans at the Ullevaal Stadion, Norway absolutely smashed the Americans by a scoreline of 11-0.
Odd Wang Sørensen scored five goals, Gunnar Thoresen added a hat-trick of his own, Jan Sordahl notched a brace, and a lone tally from Gunnar Dahlen rounded things out.
The thrashing was not unusual at the time. The following three matches on record were 5-0, 4-0, and 6-0 losses to Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Mexico respectively.
But there was a brief respite in the doom and gloom era on the horizon.
The USA managed to qualify for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. There, they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in international soccer history, with a famous 1-0 over England in their second group game. Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived, as they finished last in the group.
What about the women?
The USA women’s team is largely a completely different story. They’ve always been one of the top sides in the world and were widely considered the best women’s national team. Despite not having a good showing in the 2023 World Cup, they hold the most World Cup titles and Olympic gold medals (four each) of any team.
As one of the world’s best teams, the USWNT is often on the other side of large-margin victories.
But they have stumbled over the years, and the USA women’s biggest loss is much more recent – and in a higher-profile situation compared to the men’s biggest snafu.
In 2007 at the World Cup in China, the USA had once again advanced to the semifinals. There, they met up with Marta and Brazil. At the Yellow Dragon Stadium in Hangzhou, Brazil hit the US with a stinging 4-0 defeat, with Marta scoring twice.
The USWNT would go on to win the third-place game 4-1 over Norway that year. Four years on, while they didn’t win the 2011 tournament (they lost to Japan in the Final), they got some revenge on Brazil in the quarterfinal round. Another Marta brace had the Brazilians on top in extra time, before a 122nd minute goal from Abby Wambach sent the game to penalties. The USA converted all five of their spot kicks to move on to the semifinals.
So there you have it, the worst loss in the record books of USA soccer. Thankfully, with the USMNT on the rise and the USWNT still a top side, these dubious matches are likely to remain the worst-ever defeats for a good long time.
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