Breaking down the USMNT's upcoming friendlies before the World Cup


The USMNT have two friendlies ahead of the 2022 World Cup, and this is their last chance to prepare for what’s to come in Qatar.

Their first battle will be a faceoff with Japan on Friday. Then on Tuesday, the USMNT will take on Saudi Arabia for a second international friendly. 

Before the madness begins, here’s everything you need to know about the two matches coming up for the U.S. men’s national team:

What is a soccer friendly game?

A friendly game, otherwise known as an exhibition game, quite literally means the game is “friendly” – as it is a non-competitive game. These matches are played outside of any recognized competition. 

The results of these games have no impact on the standings of the teams involved, they are essentially just practices. Their place in a league or tournament are simply unaffected.

How long is a friendly soccer game?

Like a normal competitive soccer match, a friendly game is 90 minutes long – containing two 45-minute halves. 

However, unlike a competitive game, a friendly match usually has no added time for penalties.

Why are friendly matches important?

Friendly matches are significant for teams, especially ahead of major international tournaments like the World Cup.

Friendlies increase a player’s fitness levels, provide more time for the players to play alongside one another, as well as test plays against other teams. Friendlies also allow for players to experiment with new strategies and slowly transition to play after injury.

Usually a friendly match marks some sort of occasion, therefore these matches are often used to fundraise for charities. 

What is the schedule for the international friendly games?

For the first friendly game, the USMNT will take on Japan on Friday, Sept. 23. The match is slated for a kickoff at 8:30 a.m. ET in Düsseldorf, Germany.

For the second friendly, the USMNT will face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. ET.

For more information on how to watch the matches, click here.

What group is each nation in for the 2022 World Cup?

The United States is in Group B, alongside Wales, Iran and England.

Japan is Group E, alongside Spain, Costa Rica and Germany, while Saudi Arabia is in Group C with Argentina, Mexico and Poland.

When is the 2022 FIFA World Cup and how can I watch it?

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18, 2022.

It will air on FOX, FS1, Telemundo and Universo. It will be available to stream on the Fox Sports App and Peacock Premium. 

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