More than four years after the US failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in decades, the team has rebounded and will be going to this year's World Cup in Qatar. A 2-0 loss to Costa Rica on Wednesday left the Americans in third place after the final night of qualifying, the final guaranteed berth from North and Central America and the Caribbean, the AP reports. The Americans’ 5-1 rout of Panama at home last weekend gave them a huge goal-difference margin over Costa Rica. That meant the US merely had to avoid losing by six goals or more in order to claim an automatic berth.
On the 1,267th day after a 2-1 loss at Trinidad and Tobago ended the Americans’ streak of seven straight World Cup appearances, defender DeAndre Yedlin addressed the team before the kickoff. "I just thanked each and every one of them for giving me a second opportunity to redeem myself, and the country a second opportunity to redeem itself,” said Yedlin, the only American left from the 2014 tournament.
Coach Gregg Berhalter, who played for the US at the 2002 World Cup, congratulated the players in the locker room. Starting lineups in the 14 qualifiers averaged an American-record low of 23 years, 302 days. "Being the youngest team in the world to qualify for the World Cup is no easy task," he said. "It’s a proud moment for the team, proud moment for US Soccer, and we’re looking forward to competing in the World Cup again." Canada, which clinched its first World Cup trip since 1986 with a win Sunday, finished first in the group, ahead of Mexico on goal difference.
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