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Copa America 2024: USMNT review Berhalter as 2026 World Cup looms

The US had advanced on all 23 previous occasions when they had won their group-stage opener at a tournament

USMNT football manager Gregg Berhalter

The United States men’s national team (USMNT) have launched a review which could lead to head coach Gregg Berhalter’s dismissal after the 2026 World Cup hosts exited the 2024 Copa America with a defeat to Uruguay.

Mathias Olivera scored the only goal of the game in Kansas City as the US became the first hosts to fail to reach the knockout phase since the group stage was introduced in 1975.

“Our tournament performance fell short of our expectations,” sporting director Matt Crocker said in a statement, via Fox Sports. “We must do better.

“We will be conducting a comprehensive review of our performance in Copa America and how best to improve the team and results as we look towards the 2026 World Cup.”

USMNT results ‘fell short’

The US beat Bolivia 2-0 in their opening match of the tournament but were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by Panama. They had not been eliminated at the group stage in 19 previous tournaments they had played at home.

“We’re all going to review the tournament and see where we fell short,” said Berhalter. “It’s obvious that the Panama game hurt us and put us behind the 8 Ball.

“Collectively – the staff, players, sporting department – need to look at where we can improve and do better. It’s not the aspiration that we have as a team. We know it’s a talented group with big potential and we didn’t show it at this tournament.”

2026 World Cup: Will Berhalter lead USMNT?

With expectations likely to be high when the US co-hosts the World Cup with Canada and Mexico, doubts have increased over former Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy boss Berhalter’s suitability to lead the side ranked 11th in the world.

Berhalter is yet to win against opponents ranked inside the top 15 in 10 attempts and has won two of 15 matches against opponents within the top 25.

Replays appeared to show Olivera’s winner was offside but the goal was allowed after a lengthy Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check.

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Berhalter. “I don’t understand. I feel like I know the rule pretty well. We had the pictures showing how the rule could be interpreted and it’s offside. That happens in football. We have to live with it.”

The US will not have to qualify for the World Cup, where fans hope they will improve on their run to the round of 16 in 2022, winning one game out of four.

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Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.