The U.S. men’s national team will travel to Europe for its final two preparation matches ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, facing off against two fellow World Cup qualified nations.
Gregg Berhalter’s side will square off with Japan and Saudi Arabia in a pair of friendlies this September, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday. The USMNT will take on Japan on Sept. 23 at a location yet to be determined before facing Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain on Sept. 27.
Both Japan and Saudi Arabia will join the USMNT in Qatar this November with Japan being paired in Group E and Saudi Arabia heading to Group C.
“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.”
Japan is managed by Hajime Moriyasu and completed AFC World Cup Qualifying with a 15-2-1 record, including an unbeaten 8-0-0 mark with a +44 goal differential in its Second Round Group. Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino and Vissel Kobe’s Yuya Osako headlines the Japanese squad after scoring 10 goals apiece in qualifying.
It will be the USMNT’s first showdown with Japan since a 3-2 friendly win in 2006.
Saudi Arabia finished first in both of its second and third round qualifying groups with a combined 13-1-4 record, having edged Japan in the Group B standings. It will mark the seventh all-time meeting between the USMNT and Saudi Arabia.
The USMNT posted a 2-0-2 record during its June window, defeating Grenada 5-0 and tying El Salvador 1-1 in Concacaf Nations League action.