USMNT will face Japan and Saudi Arabia in the final set-ups of the World Cup

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In the final tests before the World Cup, the United States men’s national team will play against two teams heading to Qatar, Japan and Saudi Arabia in European venues this fall, the US Soccer Federation announced Tuesday.

The Americans, ranked No. 15 from FIFA, will play no. 23 of Japan on 23 September and no. 49 from Saudi Arabia four days later. The first match is expected to take place in Germany, where the US team will spend most of their time before traveling to Murcia in Spain before the match on 27 September. The venue of the match in Japan has not been finalized.

After years of playing mainly against teams from the Concacaf region (North and Central America and the Caribbean), the USSF sought out World Cup teams to prepare the young US team for the November and December tournament. This month, the Americans defeated Morocco, 3-0, in Cincinnati and drew Uruguay 0-0 in Kansas City, Kan. (They also played the Concacaf Nations League compulsory matches against Grenada and El Salvador.)

Barring injuries, manager Gregg Berhalter expects to have most, if not all, of his World Cup players at the pitch in September. He doesn’t need to finalize the tournament roster until mid-November.

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Ideally, the USSF would have liked to organize matches against European World Cup opponents this fall. However, European football is concerned about their Nations League schedule in September, the last official window for international matches before the World Cup.

The federation also considered playing two home games in September, but potential enemies were reluctant to travel and needed to organize a second game at a US venue.

The US team last played in Europe in May 2021 against Switzerland. His previous neutral game abroad was in March 2021 against Jamaica in Austria.

Although both September events take place in neutral venues, Japan and Saudi Arabia are the game organizers and home teams. They are responsible for stadium selection, ticketing and other facets. The USSF has negotiated things like appearance fees and transportation and will have access to tickets to sell to its traveling supporters.

Saudi Arabia played in Murcia this month, losing to Colombia and Venezuela, and will return for two matches in September: against Ecuador on 23 September, followed by a clash with the United States.

Playing in Europe will facilitate transportation logistics for the US team core, which is employed by European clubs.

The nominees on the MLS team roster will fly to Europe after their respective league games from 17-18 September.

Japan, who qualified for their seventh consecutive World Cup, completed the Asian qualifiers with a 15-2-1 record, including 8-0-0 with 46 goals scored and only two conceded in the second round. shift. He hasn’t played for the United States since the 2006 friendly in San Francisco.

The Americans and the Saudis will meet for the seventh time, but the first since the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico. Four years earlier, in a friendly match at RFK Stadium, the United States recovered from a three-goal deficit by winning 4-3.

“Along with the two matches in June against Morocco and Uruguay, we will have experienced a great diversity of styles and quality opponents to help us prepare for what lies ahead at the World Cup,” Berhalter said in a statement.

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