After a 40 year absence, the United States men’s national soccer team returned to the FIFA World Cup on this day in soccer history in 1990 when the Red, White and Blue kicked off against Czechoslovakia in Italia 1990 at Stadio Comunale in Florence.
It was a tough return for the U.S. as they were defeated 5-1 by the eastern European country. Paul Caligiuri scored the lone goal for the Stars and Stripes in the 61st minute to cut the lead to 3-1 but that was a close as they came. "They said we couldn't score," said Caligiuri afterward. "Well, we did."
Eric Wynalda was red carded a few minutes before the lone goal for the U.S. making the task that much harder.
--- Wear your passion for the Red, White and Blue! The World Soccer Shop has the best selection of officially licensed soccer gear of the United States men's national team. Get in the gear today. ---
After the match defender Mike Windischmann, who was called for a penalty resulting in one of Czechoslovakia’s goals said; "Maybe you could say the worst is behind us (with the Czechoslovakia defeat) but it's not. We have to play Italy next."
The U.S. was certainly up against great odds as a team of amateurs was facing a team of professionals. Cameroon defeated Argentina a few days before the U.S.’ match which gave the team some confidence and allowed head coach Bob Gansler, who had been hounded by the press over the long odds facing the U.S., to say, "that favorites don't always win, which is why you play the game."
The U.S. lost all three matches in there return with loses coming to Italy 1-0 and Austria 2-1.
In other international happenings on this day in soccer history in 1968, Italy won their first UEFA European Cup when the defeated Yugoslavia 2-0 in the championship game replay after the first match ended 1-1. The host nation won the replay 2-0.
"We definitely deserved to win that game," Dino Zoff. "The memories are fresh even now." The goalkeeper was honest in his assessment of the original game saying, “To be honest, we didn't deserve to draw."
The official soccer jersey of the Italian national team is available at the World Soccer Shop. Get in the Gear!
The replay was the only time the UEFA European Championship outcome was decided by a replay as the tournament moved to a penalty shoot out to determine a winner after extra time ended deadlocked.
1927 – Ladislao Kubala, Hungarian-born footballer (d. 2002)
1959 – Carlo Ancelotti, Italian footballer and manager
1966 – David Platt, English footballer
1969 – Ronny Johnsen, Norwegian footballer
1971 – Bruno N'Gotty, French footballer
1975 – Henrik Pedersen, Danish footballer
1976 – Stefan Postma, Dutch footballer
1978 – Brian West, American soccer player
1979 – Konstantinos Loumpoutis, Greek footballer
1980 – Francelino Matuzalem, Brazilian footballer
1984 – Dean Leacock, English footballer
1985 – Vasilis Torosidis, Greek footballer
1987 – Martin Harnik, Austrian footballer
1989 – Mustapha Carayol, English-Gambian footballer