A look back at USA's 2002 World Cup upset of Portugal

A look back at USA's 2002 World Cup upset of Portugal

U.S. Men's National Team

A look back at USA's 2002 World Cup upset of Portugal


2002WorldCupUSA (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

It was one of the stunning, exciting and enjoyable moments in American soccer history, the U.S. Men's national team's stunning 3-2 World Cup upset victory against Portugal on June 5th, 2002. That day in Suwon, South Korea marked a turnaround for the sport in the USA, and helped spark the best World Cup run by the USMNT in half a century.

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of that historic day, and the anniversary will have plenty of American fans thinking back to where they were when the USA shocked the world.

I was lucky enough to be in Suwon that day, as a young newspaper reporter covering my first World Cup. The lasting memory I have of that day, along with the obvious events of the match, was the way Portuguese media acted before the match. To say some Portuguese reporters were expecting an easy Portugal victory is an understatement. There was definitely a "you're lucky to even be here" attitude toward the U.S. team. That made it all the more entertaining to watch those same Portuguese media members get flustered as John O'Brien scored, then Landon Donovan forced an own goal, then Brian McBride headed home a goal to make it a stunning 3-0 lead for the USA.

Portugal fought back to make it 3-2, with the help of Jeff Agoos' magical own goal, but that only served to provide some more excitement to the final 20 minutes of the match, which had to be the most nerve-wracking experience many USA fans had ever experienced.

There were other unforgettable moments at the 2002 World Cup for the USA, from Clint Mathis' goal against South Korea, to the USA's victory over Mexico, but none of those moments can match the sheer shock and excitement of the USA knocking off a powerhouse Portugal side.

Ten years have gone by since that memorable day, but for the fans who watched that match, and the people lucky enough to be in the stadium that day, the memories won't soon fade away.

Here are the match highlights from that historic match:

If you never got a chance to watch the match, or would like to watch the match in its entirety, you can watch it here.

What are your memories of the USA's victory over Portugal? Where were you when the U.S. Men's National Team shocked the world?

Share your memories below. 

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