How the world has changed since the United States last missed a World Cup

October 11, 2017

Last night, the United States, sitting reasonably comfortable in the FIFA Chamber of Torture and Oddities known as the CONCACAF Hex, took to a heavy, water-logged pitch against last place (and already eliminated) Trinidad & Tobago, needing, quite simply, not to lose in order to qualify for their eighth straight World Cup. 90 minutes later, they had couched it all up—a World Cup birth, the future of US soccer, national pride, some Gatorade, and, apparently, Taylor Twellman’s soul.

But as we, the soccer-tolerating American masses, come down from our rage high, we would do well to remember a few things. First, established superpowers like Chile and the Netherlands also missed out. If you think it’s bad here right now, hoo boy, just go drop those Twitter feeds into Google translator. Second, the United States is one of only seven nations on earth to make every World Cup since 1986. That’s 31 years and 31 years is a long, long time. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the world has changed over the course of the last three decades.

1986: IBM unveils the “PC Convertible”, the world’s first laptop.

1987: The Simpsons premieres. There are 618 episodes of that now.

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1988: Crack makes its first appearance in the US.

1989: The Berlin Wall falls and, with it, the Soviet Union.

1990: Tim Berners-Lee publishes his formal proposal for something called the “World Wide Web”.

1991: Nirvana releases Nevermind. A generation of teens adopt “A mosquito/My libido” as their battle cry.

1992: The Mall of America opens.

1993: Michael Jordan retires.

1994: Kurt Cobain's death leads to the end of Nirvana, a generation of teens drop “A mosquito/My libido” as their battle cry.

MTV Unplugged: Nirvana

Frank Micelotta Archive

1995: Michael Jordan unretires.

1996: Major League Soccer kicks off its inaugural season.

1997: Princess Diana is killed in a car accident in Paris.

1998: Google is founded.

1999: MySpace and Napster both debut, college gets even better.

2000: A new century begins...but more importantly the first season of Survivor premieres.

2001: The first Harry Potter film hits theaters. If you missed it, don't worry. There's seven more.

2002: Tom Brady wins his first Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Boston Red Sox

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox

2003: Beyoncé goes solo.

2004: The Boston Red Sox win their first World Series since 1918, breaking baseball’s first big curse.

2005: YouTube is founded. The comment section becomes an immediate human Superfund site.

2006: Pluto is demoted from planet to dwarf planet.

2007: Apple releases the iPhone and you haven’t looked up while crossing the street since.

2008: Barack Obama becomes the first black president in United States history.

2009: “Boom Boom Pow” becomes the number one song in America. Michael Jackson dies. These events are unrelated.

2010: Lost finally freaking ends.

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2012: Fifty Shades of Grey gets housewives across America curious about bondage. Husbands go with it.

2013: Lance Armstrong admits he's been lying and cheating this whole time. PSYCH!

2014: Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappears over the Indian Ocean. It remains unfound.

2015: The world loses its mind over a dress.

2016: Donald Trump elected Supreme Gold Poobah of Steak & Ketchupia.

2017: Twin Peaks returns, the United States misses the World Cup, and the civilization, presumably, sputters to an end before Christmas.

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