What’s the biggest USA soccer upset?

_imageAccording to collective Washington Post readers, U.S. over England in the 1950 World Cup tops them all. That result certainly garnered the most international publicity, I’m told, so it’s easy to see why it won.

In second place, readers chose U.S. over No. 1 ranked Spain during this year’s FIFA Confederations Cup, a warm up tournament held before the World Cup. I saw that match, and while thrilling, it wasn’t as exciting as USA over Portugal at the 2002 World Cup, which readers ranked as the third biggest upset in U.S. history.

Other upsets mentioned included U.S. wins over Brazil in 1998, Columbia at the 1994 World Cup, Argentina in 1995, and Germany in 1999. What would you vote as the biggest U.S. soccer upset?

U.S. soccer prez on World Cup chances: “Why play unless you believe you can win?”

Sunil GulatiThe United States national team, once the David of international soccer, is growing up. Slowly, but growing. He qualified for his sixth consecutive World Cup last month. He has been in the quarter finals twice, and many people see him as the most formidable rising soccer power. But can he win the world championship?

His general manger thinks so. “One of our players was asked if we could win the World Cup and said why not?” said Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. soccer, in an interview with the New York Times. “I love that confidence. Why play unless you believe you have some chance to win? The fact is if you get past the first round, anything is possible.”

The next question: How? The U.S. routinely downed Goliaths with speed and constant attacking at the 2002 games, before losing to Germany in the quarter finals on a missed penalty call. This squad, however, is a little less exciting to watch — at least for now.

Donovan, Altidore, and Howard in cat fight for U.S. “Player of the Year”

Facetious headline aside, the three are competing finalist for the 2009 Honda Player of the Year, which recognizes the most important player from the men’s national team. Donovan has won the award five times, including the last two years. Howard is a finalist for the third year in the row, and 19 year-old Altidore is a first-time finalist.

To recap their achievements, Donovan has contributed to 69% of all World Cup qualifying goals (either on his own or by way of assists). Tim Howard is a monster goal keeper, saving multiple wins throughout the year and winning a Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper at the Confederations Cup. And rising-star Jozy Altidore became the first U.S. player to record a hat trick during 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago in April, not to mention scoring eight goals in 19 appearances.

Who do you think should win?

Top 10 dumbest World Cup mascots

World Cup 2010 mascot, Top 10 dumbest World Cup mascots

Pictured above is the official mascot for the 2010 World Cup. I bet you’re frothing at the mouth for soccer right now. First created for the ’66 cup in England, World Cup mascots are suppose to symbolize the host country. In reality, they do a terrible job while looking ridiculous.

While some are forgivable (Juanito at Mexico ’70, for example), the following are more pathetic than a Brazilian flopping on the field like he had just been doused with face-melting acid. So as we gear up for South Africa, trust my paper presents the top 10 dumbest-looking World Cup mascots ever:

10. Gauchito, Argentina ’78

gauchito argentina '78 world cup

This one’s not soooo bad. At least he’s sporting Puma, the best soccer brand ever made. But Gauchito, armed with his butter knife whip, looks more like something you’d find on a cereal box than the face of the world’s largest sporting event.

9. World Cup Willie, England ’66

England 1966 world cup wilie

Ah, the one that started it all. It’s a lion wearing a Union Jack for a shirt. But it’s the name the really gets me—Willie. That’s the best you Brits could come up with, eh? World Cup Willie? When asked for comment, Queen Elizabeth II reportedly said at the time, “That’s the dumbest name I’ve ever heard.”

8. The Spheriks, Korea/Japan ’02

The Spheriks, 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan
The Japanese are crazy. Make ‘em share a room with Koreans, and this is what they come up with. As the first and only computer-generated mascots to date, The Spheriks were known for making Teletubies green with envy… and for causing Western supporters to quickly usher their young children out of harm’s way.

7. Pique, Mexico ’86

pique mexico '86 world cup

Look, it’s a jalapeño pepper with a mustache and sombrero. How stereotypical!

6. Footix, France ’98

France '98 World Cup, Footix
Hey, everyone. It’s Woody Woodpecker holding a soccer ball! France, I know the cockerel is a national symbol, but you’re not even trying. Not that you needed to though. At least you won the World Cup on home soil that year

5. Goleo and Pille, Germany ’06

goleo and pille, world cup germany 2006
No. That’s all I got.

4. Ciao, Italy ’90

Italy '90 World Cup, Ciao
Oh my, what originality, Italy! A stick figure made out of blocks. Oh, I get it, the blocks are the same color as your flag. I see what you did there. Amazing. And a soccer ball for a head. That’s just the icing on the cake. Well done, folks. Let’s have a round of applause.

3. Naranjito, Spain ’82

naranjito, spain 1982 world cup

Really Spain? This is what you came up with? An orange that looks like Humpty Dumpty? You were just a cheap cash advance away from hiring a real PR firm but instead you had to DIY. I’m speechless, really.

2. Striker the World Cup Pup, USA ’94

Striker the World Cup Pup, USA '94
It may have had the best facilities of any World Cup, but the USA ’94 mascot was definitely lacking. The World Cup Pup? It looks like he was drawn in the ’30s, not the ’90s. And what the crap does a dog have to do with America? I like dogs and all, but this is meaningless, juvenile, and boring.

1. Tip and Tap, Germany ’74

Tip and Tap Germany World Cup '74
You’re still doing it wrong, Germany. Affectionate boys bearing midriffs? Ridiculously long feet? Rosy cheeks? This is hands-down the worst attempt at a mascot, not just in the World Cup, but in the entire world. It’s like a political cartoonist from some rubbish German paper was asked to throw something together in the final hour. This is what he came up with. Mascot fail.

We call it soccer: Here’s how American international stars played for their club teams this weekend

Here’s a run down of the action, care of The MNT Blog:Tim Howard, Everton

  • Clint Dempsey and Fulham handed Tim Howard and Everton a defeat on Sunday. The Cottagers won 2-1, with Dempsey playing the full 90 minutes.
  • Carlos Bocanegra helped Rennes to a 1-0 victory against St. Etienne. Bocanegra came on as a late sub after a busy week for the U.S. captain.
  • Steve Cherundolo played 90 minutes in a Hannover’s 0-0 draw with Werder Bremen.
  • Benny Feilhaber played the full game but Aarhus slipped to their first defeat of the season against Brøndby.
  • On Saturday, Jozy Altidore came on as a second half sub in Hull City’s 4-1 defeat to Sunderland. HIGHLIGHTS
  • Charlie Davies started for Sochaux, who were defeated 1-0 by Lille on Saturday.