USMNT to face Japan and Saudi Arabia in final FIFA World Cup preparation matches
CHICAGO – The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Japan and Saudi Arabia for its final preparation matches ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Along with the games against Morocco and Uruguay, the USMNT will have faced four different World Cup teams prior to traveling to Qatar in November.
The U.S. first faces Japan on Sept. 23 in a location to be determined, with the match set to be broadcast live on the ESPN and Univision Networks. Four days later, the team will be in Murcia, Spain to meet Saudi Arabia on Sept. 27 at the Estadio Nueva Condomina. FS1 and the Univision Networks will televise the games, with kickoff times to be announced on a later date.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to measure ourselves against fellow World Cup participants,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “Together with the two games 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 in November.”
SAMURAI BLUE REACH SEVENTH-CONSECUTIVE WORLD CUP
The USMNT will face a team competing in its seventh consecutive World Cup dating back to 1998. Coached by Hajime Moriyasu, the Samurai Blue completed AFC qualifying with a 15-2-1 record, including an unbeaten 8-0-0 mark with 46 goals scored and only two conceded in their Second Round Group. Takumi Minamino (Liverpool) and Yuya Osako (Vissel Kobe) led the team with 10 goals each.
The USA and Japan last met in an international friendly on Feb. 10, 2006, in San Francisco. A goal and an assist from Taylor Twellman combined with strikes by Clint Dempsey and Eddie Pope paced the USMNT to a 3-2 win.
VS. THE GREEN FALCONS
The USMNT brings a slight edge into the seventh match of the all-time series, holding a 3-2-1 record. This will be the second meeting at a neutral venue, with the USA collecting the bronze medal at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup following a 2-0 in Guadalajara, Mexico. USA boss Gregg Berhalter earned his first cap against the Green Falcons back in 1994.
Saudi Arabia posted impressive numbers during the World Cup Qualifying run, finishing first in both their second and third round groups with a combined 13-1-4 record, having edged Japan in the Third Round, Group B standings. All of their players competed in the domestic league, with Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari each recording seven goals in qualifying.
WORLD CUP BOUND
The September matches in Europe will be the USA’s final opportunities to prepare ahead of the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Drawn alongside Wales, England and IR Iran in Group B, the USMNT will compete in the strongest overall group in Qatar, with the four sides holding an average rank of 15 according to the March 2022 FIFA World Ranking.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will open World Cup group play against Wales on Nov. 21, face England on Friday, Nov. 25 and finish the first round vs. IR Iran on Nov. 29. All three of the USA’s group stage games will kick off at 2 p.m. ET.
2022 FIFA WORLD CUP GROUPS:
Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, Korea Republic