Bora Milutinovic is often credited with helping the United States men’s national team overachieve at the 1994 World Cup.
The Serbian coach was hired in 1991 and tasked with qualifying the US for the first time since 1950. He did that, and then some, as the US made it all the way to the Round of 16 before losing to eventual champion Brazil.
But Milutinovic’s impact went beyond just results. He instilled a belief in his players that they could compete with anyone in the world.
“Bora’s biggest gift was his ability to make us believe we could play with anybody,” former US captain John Harkes said. “We didn’t have any fear.”
That belief was on full display in the US’s opening game against Switzerland. The Swiss were heavy favorites, but the US went out and earned a 1-1 draw.
It was a sign of things to come. The US would tie Argentina and Bulgaria before beating Colombia in the Round of 16.
While the US ultimately fell to Brazil, the 1994 World Cup was a watershed moment for the program. And it all started with Bora Milutinovic.
Bora Milutinovic did an incredible job with the US Men’s National Team, instilling belief in his players that they could compete with anyone in the world. The team’s success at the 1994 World Cup directly resulted from his leadership and coaching.
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