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United States coach Bruce Arena leaves after World Cup failure

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United States coach Bruce Arena has left his role after the side failed to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986.

The US will not compete in next year’s finals in Russia after a 2-1 defeat in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday.

Former US defender Alexi Lalas said the failure was a “sad and dark moment”.

“We didn’t get the job done, and I accept responsibility,” said 66-year-old Arena, who took charge for the second time last November.

Arena left Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy to succeed Jurgen Klinsmann, who was sacked with the US sitting bottom of the six-country qualifying group.

Arena revived their fortunes sufficiently for the US to require only a point from their final qualifying match to book their place at an eighth successive World Cup.

But opponents Trinidad and Tobago – who had won only one of their previous nine games – beat them, and with Panama and Honduras also winning, it ended the hopes of Arena’s side.

“This certainly is a major setback for the senior men’s national team program and questions rightly should be asked about how we can improve,” said Arena afterwards.

“No doubt this process already has started and will continue so that US Soccer can progress.”

Arena led his country to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals in his first spell in charge.

When he took over from former Germany striker Klinsmann, he had the best win rate of any US manager with 71 victories from his 130 games between 1998 and 2006.

He has also won five MLS Cups with LA Galaxy and DC United.

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