The United States defied the odds to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Monday after goals by Brian McBride and Landon Donovan upset neighbours Mexico 2-0.
The U.S, who reached the semi-finals of the first World Cup in 1930 by playing just two games, soaked up long periods of Mexico pressure and hit them on the break to set up a last-eight meeting with Germany.
Mexico, whose captain Rafael Marquez was sent off near the end, failed to produce any of the quick-fire moves that characterised their impressive first round campaign. They again failed to live up to expectations as they bowed out in the second round for the third successive World Cup.
"Our guys left everything on the field out there, they played great and I'm proud of them," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena, who added that he made four changes to inject some "fresh legs" into his team after the disappointing 3-1 defeat to Poland.
"It was difficult to get our guys up after our last match against Poland on Friday," Arena added. "We had a game plan and they executed it beautifully."
It was the 47th match between the two countries, but the first at the World Cup finals.
In a bad-tempered match between two traditional rivals on and off the pitch which also featured 10 yellow cards, the U.S. always looked dangerous on the counter-attack and went ahead after eight minutes.
The goal was a reward for quick-thinking and neat footwork as midfielder Claudio Reyna picked up a quickly taken free-kick and advanced purposefully to the byline on the right.
The U.S. captain managed to deliver a low cross which Josh Wolff, a surprise starter up front, laid back into the path of striker McBride, who fired it home crisply from near the penalty spot.
Mexico had most of the ball but did little with it, and frustrated coach Javier Aguirre introduced veteran forward Luis Hernandez in the 28th minute in place of midfielder Ramon Morales.
Hernandez, who scored four goals in Mexico's run to the second round four years ago, immediately added some verve and U.S. keeper Brad Friedel was forced into a good save as he tipped over a rising drive by Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
The Americans, who pulled off a shock 3-2 win over Portugal in their opening match of the tournament, barely threatened but could easily have made it 2-0 when Wolff found himself unmarked in the area but shot tamely against the legs of Mexico keeper Oscar Perez.
Mexico came out fighting after the break, laying siege to the U.S. goal with a series of corners and free kicks and American midfielder John O'Brien was lucky not to give away a penalty when he punched one of them clear.
The U.S., who were rung by President George W. Bush hours before the game, dealt with the threat, though, and made it 2-0 on the break when midfielder Donovan arrived at the far post to head home a great cross from Eddie Lewis.
Marquez was shown the red card for a head-butt as the Mexicans became increasingly frustrated and the U.S. missed a great chance to add a third in the dying seconds when Donovan blazed the ball wildly over with the goal at his mercy.
Mexico striker Jared Borgetti blamed a failure to take chances for his team's defeat.
"I think that we played good football but it is necessary to score," he said. "It is possible to destroy good football by playing defensively.
"The U.S. are a team that are quick on the counter-attack. We tried everything but came up against a brick wall."
It was the Americans' fifth win in the last six meetings between the two CONCACAF rivals and their first clean sheet in a finals match since they famously beat England 1-0 in 1950.
The U.S. lost all three matches at the 1998 World Cup, scoring just one goal.