The USA has been more competitive in the past, with the high water mark probably being the 1984 Olympic Games. The Men’s team placed 9th, but lost by no more than 3 goals in their 6 matches. The Women’s team placed 5th, but would have won a bronze medal, if they could have turned a 1 goal loss to Germany into a victory in the pool play competition.
Both the Men’s and Women’s National Teams continued to have a measure of respectability for the rest of the 1980’s through the 1996 Olympic Games, occasionally garnering victories in Friendly competitions like the Goodwill Games against European teams. In World Championship and Olympic competition the USA has repeatedly come up short. In particular, the USA men, have the dubious distinction of an 0-0-25 record in World Championship competition. Following the 1996 games, International competitiveness dropped dramatically with losses of 20 or more goals against the top teams becoming commonplace.
USA Men’s National Team Results at Every IHF World Championship: Link