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Spain, Nigeria headline North American pre-World Cup tour

AndresIniestaSpain1-NigeriaConfederationsCup (Getty)

By RYAN TOLMICH

Reigning World Cup champions Spain and African Cup of Nations champions Nigeria are two of eight national teams scheduled to participate in a series of matches across North America just prior to this summer’s World Cup.

The series of matches, titled “Road to Brazil”, will take place between May 27 and June 10 across the continent, Soccer United Marketing announced on Monday. In addition to Spain and Nigeria, the Road to Brazil will feature fellow World Cup 2014 participants Greece, Ivory Coast, Honduras and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Bolivia and El Salvador.

The series of matches will provide a valuable tune-up for those heading into the World Cup this summer, as it gives managers one last chance to fine tune their squads before heading to Brazil.

The field will be headlined by powerhouse Spain, who head into Brazil as having been the dominant force in international soccer over the past six years. However, a Confederations Cup loss to hosts Brazil has put a dent in La Roja’s aura of invincibility.

Fellow Confederations Cup participants Nigeria will join Spain on the pre-World Cup tour, as the Super Eagles will look to prepare for a strong World Cup group that includes Argentina, Iran and fellow participants, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Spain and Nigeria aren’t the only squads boasting star-power, as Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Emilio Izaguirre and recent Premier League signee Kostas Mitroglou will look to bring World Cup glory to the Ivory Coast, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Honduras and Greece, respectively.

Complete details for the summer series are yet to be released, but information regarding venues, additional participants and ticket sales will be made available at a later date.

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What do you think of this news? Excited to see a number of talented teams come to North America? Which teams are you looking forward to seeing?

Share your thoughts below.

43 comments
  • les wondo

    KA CHING $$$$$$$$

    but why don’t any of the top 20 clubs in the football world wanna buy or allow Yanks into their youth academies

    Like

    • Joe+G

      Because it’s difficult to get players without EU passports into academies before age 18, when FIFA rules allow them to move.

      Like

    • Edmondo

      Partially, it’s visas for youth player is an issue. Keep in Mind Zalalem and Rossi) went to academies because they had EU passports. However, US has still drawn interest from top 20. Luis Gil (Arsenal) and Freddy Adu (Chelsea) turned down academy offers. Jonathan Spector was at Man Utd youth academy and served as their captain. Additionally, Marc Pelosi is at Liverpool.

      Like

      • matt

        Zak Whitbread at Liverpool
        Frank Simek at Arsenal
        John Thorington at Manchester United
        Jovan Kirovski at Manchester United
        Danny Karbisiyoon at Arsenal
        John O’Brien at Ajax

        If you look to the current U20 pool, there are more than a handful of players plying their trade in Europe at age 18 including :Dortmund, Leverkusen, That said, the passport issue is a challenge.

        Like

      • Alex

        And the one Barca signed. Ben Lederman at Barca, Joshua Pynadath at Real. Interesting cases.

        Like

      • Josh D

        Kenny Cooper was on United’s books too and did well for himself in the reserves. Don’t remember how old he was though. Wasted talent.

        Like

      • dcpohl

        Granted Frank Simek had been living in England since he was 12, so that was a unique situation compared with being recruited straight from the US.

        Like

      • Dinho

        Thorrington was born in South Africa, yes, which made his passport fairly easy to secure. He moved to California at a young age and grew up here most of his life.

        Like

    • JayAre

      I’m impressed with how the US is managing to capitalize on the world cup without actually hosting it. Just image how many overnight millionaire we’d have if we actually hosted a confederations cup and a world cup!!!!! FIFA is so corrupt that they’re blind to the fact that they are losing a hundreds of millions or possibly billions by giving the WC to Qatar.

      Like

  • les wondo

    Soccer will become the biggest sport in the USA in 25 years and FIFA is going to get Mega Rich and Mega Corrupt by this

    Like

    • alabamafutbol

      I like where your head’s at. let me add that I think we can be very successful as a soccer nation even if soccer becomes the 2nd or 3rd sport behind football and basketball. Really its most direct competition right now is baseball

      Like

      • Razak Pimpong

        Baseball in direct competition with soccer? Yeah call me when MLS hands out 100 million contracts like candy just like MLB does.

        Like

      • alabamafutbol

        Baseball and soccer, at this stage, aren’t as far apart in popularity as you think. Baseball is on the decline. If you don’t see its steady downward trend you aren’t paying attention

        Like

      • Anthony

        I’d be happy if we got as big as hockey is now. Hockey carries 22-25 rosters (like soccer teams), but their annual player salaries range from $40-70 million each year.

        Like

    • ACS

      That fact that 40%, and rising, of parents wouldn’t let their kids play American football is going to play a big factor in how big soccer becomes in the US that and the lawsuits that are starting to pop up over the safety of football.

      Like

      • downintexas

        I agree with ACS, not sure where he got the stat. I grew up in West Texas, were football is a way of life. There is no way I would let me son play. Not worth the risk. Football is going to be drastically different in 20 years

        Like

      • marden08

        agree. It is changing and it is inevitable. I love soccer, American football and basketball. But soccer is just touching the surface on how massive it will be in this country.

        Like

    • alf

      They said it was going to be THE sport of the 80’s as well. Then the ‘soccer bashing’ started in earnest. I hope you’re right on one hand but not on the other as popularity I’m afraid will bring corruption.

      Like

      • Jimmy

        Yes, but the infrastructure is now built which is the difference between now and the 80s. Kids today have many, many more options and it’s only going to increase.

        Like

  • James

    US has done well to get quality opponents, but this is a bit reminiscent of Germany, where we played high caliber opponents for our final games, and it demoralized us. Hopefully history doesn’t repeat.

    Like

  • beto

    World Cup bound USA Mexico, England and Ecuador and maybe Sweden, Serbia or Turkey are also playing in the states this summer.. Are they part of this series of friendlies?..

    Like

    • Joe+G

      Those teams may be added to the lineup later or, it’s likely that some are organizing their friendlies on their own. Mexico plays so many friendlies in the US that they are pretty good at it, so they don’t need an outside party involved.

      Like

      • Eric B

        “Mexico plays so many friendlies in the US that they are pretty good at it, so they don’t need an outside party involved.”

        You are aware who’s been promoting El Tri’s friendlies in the States the past few years, no?

        Like

  • Brett Son of Stephen

    And remind me again why FIFA chose Qatar to host over the US? It seems all the teams want to come here.

    Like

    • JayAre

      It’s simple …see Blatter time at the top is running out so it makes sense to contract out as many things possible such as the 2022 world cup and tons of sponsor ships that make sense and seem profitable now but won’t really be that good down the road. This way they get paid and whoever is a the top of FIFA down the road will just have to deal with it and the people that caused the problem will be long gone…. Imagine FIFA as Detroit

      Like

  • McQ

    I would find it unfathomable that Ivory Coast and Nigeria are coming here and the US wouldnt line one of them up for a friendly. realistically, we play many European teams now and know how to play them / know what to expect but we need to get accustomed to playing African opponents.!!

    Like

  • ElMetrofan

    I can see Spain playing at RB Arena with their A team as the Liga should be completed by May. Should be a sell out. Lots of Spaniards in the area.

    Nigeria as the sent off in Jacksonville? With Mexico possible next with Ukraine that’s pretty good competition. Is there room for one more?

    Like

  • galaxy2

    USA vs Mexico. they will face one more time before heading to Brazil. USA football will be number one or two in a decade or two. Look where the NFL is at. baseball use to be the king of all sports in the USA now days is Grid iron football. Yes I believe world football will take over once we produce talented players like Argentina,Brazil and Uruguay.

    Like

    • Anthony

      I seriously doubt that USA will be the number one team in the world in 10-15 years like you are saying. I like your optimism, but it is misguided. Typical winning teams are about 27yrs on average those are the guys on the under 17 & under 18 teams. We are VERY far in terms of depth, and developing players between 17 – 23 which has always been a problem.

      Like

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