international friendlies

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International friendlies: Belgium-Mexico end in wild draw and more

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A crazy day of international friendlies took place on Friday, and many World Cup favorites were in action.

[ MORE: Italy falls to Sweden in UEFA playoff first leg ]

Belgium 3-3 Mexico

If this was a preview of things to come next summer, sign me up. It was a goals bonanza in Belgium on Friday with Romelu Lukaku and Hirving Lozano each tallying a brace for their respective nations. Eden Hazard gave Belgium the early lead inside 17 minutes, while El Tri picked up an equalizer seven minutes before halftime when Andres Guardado converted a penalty.

England 0-0 Germany

The Three Lions put out a good mix of experience and youth against the Germans, and the outcome was a solid one for Gareth Southgate and Co. Young talents like Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek showed well for the English on Friday, as they held their dangerous counterparts to a shutout at Wembley Stadium.

France 2-0 Wales

It was always going to be hard for Wales to get a result without star attacker Gareth Bale, but the fact that they were tasked with facing Les Bleus didn’t make it any easier. Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud each scored for France on a day where they recorded 19 shots overall. Meanwhile, the Welsh had a difficult time coming up with chances without Bale.


Below are some of the other scores from a busy day of international friendlies.

Poland 0-0 Uruguay
Portugal 3-0 Saudi Arabia
Ukraine 2-1 Slovakia
Georgia 1-0 Cyprus
Haiti 1-0 UAE
Japan 1-3 Brazil
South Korea 2-1 Colombia
China 0-2 Serbia

International friendlies: Mexico vs. Belgium, young England vs. Germany

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Let’s get something out of the way — We’re not trying to torture you by writing about teams warming up for the World Cup with fun friendlies; It stings us just as much to consider the USMNT’s failure again.

[ MORE: New Zealand can spring upset ]

So, yeah, it’d be great if the U.S. was measuring its World Cup fortunes on Friday with a rematch against Belgium, or matching wits with Paul Pogba-less France.

Alas, that’s for countries that qualified for the World Cp.

Belgium vs. Mexico — 2:45 p.m. ET

Juan Carlos Osorio has called up a number of youngsters for this week’s matches against Belgium and Poland, but the pressure’s going to be on several veterans who want to ensure their places in Russia.

On the old side, look out for LA Galaxy attacker Giovani dos Santos to bid to impress more than he did in a moribund MLS season. And Oribe Peralta isn’t exactly a young 33.

Groningen’s Uriel Antuna (20) and Excel Mouscron’s Omar Govea (21) are uncapped players with Mexico, while 20-year-old Liga MX mainstays Edson Alvarez and Cesar Montes will also look to impress.

England vs. Germany — 2 p.m. ET

The Three Lions are without several big names including Dele Alli and Harry Kane, and fellow Spurs star Eric Dier is set to captain a young England side against Germany. Look for Chelsea loanees Tammy Abraham (Swansea) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) to take advantage of their chances against Joachim Low’s Germany, who will be giving youth a chance at the back as well.

France vs. Wales — 3 p.m. ET

Chris Coleman’s Wales turns the page on a World Cup failure of its own, and does it without Gareth Bale, Hal Robson-Kanu, and retired James Collins. France won’t have Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, nor Tiemoue Bakayoko, but has plenty of weapons in its squad.

Portugal vs. Saudi Arabia — 3 p.m. ET

The young Portuguese “B-teamers” gear up for its home friendly versus the USMNT by hosting a team nearly full of Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal stars.

Other notable friendlies (all times ET)
South Korea vs. Colombia — 6 a.m.
China vs. Serbia – 6:35 a.m.
Ukraine vs. Slovakia — 2 p.m. ET
Poland vs. Uruguay — 2:45 p.m.
Japan vs. Brazil — 3 p.m. ET

LIVE: USMNT gets ready for WCQs with Venezuela test

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Clint Dempsey has a good chance at matching Landon Donovan’s record for most goals as a USMNT player when the Yanks face Venezuela on Saturday in Sandy, Utah.

Rio Tinto is the venue, and Dempsey lines up alongside Hamburg’s Bobby Wood in an attack-ready XI with Fabian Johnson, Christian Pulisic, and Darlington Nagbe.

[ LIVE: Follow USMNT-Venezuela ]

Michael Bradley completes the midfield, with Jorge Villafana, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, and DeAndre Yedlin holding down the defense in front of Tim Howard.

How might the USMNT lineup against Serbia?

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It’s six days to Sunday, the first time we’ll see Bruce Arena manage the United States men’s national team since his rehiring late last year.

The Yanks host Serbia in San Diego before moving to Chattanooga for a match against Jamaica. Both matches should be open-and-shut wins, as the Americans’ MLS-only lineup get “B-teams” from Serbia and Jamaica.

[ MORE: Serbia, Jamaica rosters ]

Possible starting center back Matt Hedges and his FC Dallas teammate, Kellyn Acosta, will miss through injury, while Arena sent Kekuta Manneh to Wales for Vancouver Whitecaps camp.

That leaves 28 names — full roster at bottom — and the level of competition means Arena can take risks, like his choice to try Graham Zusi at right back.

Arena used several different formations with the Galaxy last season, opting for anything from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-1-1.

Here are some options against Serbia.

4-2-2-2

Arena could steady the middle of the pitch while using a pair of attack-minded veteran midfielders with points to prove.

Robles

Rosenberry — Birnbaum — Zimmerman — Beasley

Bradley — McCarty

Feilhaber —————————Kljestan

Morris — Altidore


4-4-2 (diamond) — Veteran heavy

Arena likes his veterans, and may want to give them the benefit of the doubt in front of fans and the eyes of U.S. Soccer.

Rimando

Zusi — Marshall — Evans — Beasley

Bedoya — Bradley — Jones — Kljestan

Altidore — Zardes


4-3-3

Bingham

Rosenberry — Birnbaum — Zimmerman — Garza

Bradley

Nagbe — Bedoya

Zardes — Altidore — Morris


Full roster

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls), Brian Rowe (LA Galaxy)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Taylor Kemp (D.C. United), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (Unattached), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

Serbia, Jamaican rosters weakened for USMNT friendlies

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The United States will not be at full strength for upcoming friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica, but who will take on the USMNT’s batch of MLS stars?

Both Оrlovi and the Reggae Boyz have announced their rosters for matches. The U.S. faces Serbia on Sunday in San Diego before hosting Jamaica in Chattanooga on Feb. 4.

[ MORE: Three players leave USMNT camp ]

If Arena was looking for a winning start, he couldn’t have asked for much more (or less). In terms of UEFA coefficient, Serbia has the 27th ranked professional league in Europe. Jamaica is bringing a second-choice team as well.

Serbia

Thanks to the non-traditional window, Slavoljub Muslin does not have many players who’ve helped his cause in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Only eight of Serbia’s players in San Diego will have been previously capped, and only two — Ognjen Cancarevic (27) and Enver Alivodic (32) — are over 25.

Goalkeepers: Filip Manojlović (Crvena zvezda) Ognjen Čančarević (Radnik, Surdulica)

Defenders: Nikola Maraš (Rad), Lazar Jovanović (Borac, Čačak), Vladimir Kovačević (Vojvodina), Nemanja Ćalasan (Spartak), Marko Klisura (Bačka), Nikola Ćirković (Voždovac), Nemanja Miletić (Partizan)

Midfielders: Marko Jevtović (Partizan), Stefan Panić (Metalac), Jovan Đokić (Javor), Marko Gobeljić (Napredak), Aleksandar Paločević (Vojvodina), Enver Alivodić (Novi Pazar), Srđan Plavšić (Crvena zvezda).

Strikers: Marko Mrkić (Radnički, Niš), Saša Jovanović (Mladost, Lučani).


Jamaica

Jamaica’s unit is even less of a threat, traditionally speaking, as even MLS players like Andre Blake, Oniel Fisher, and Shaun Francis were not called up by coach Theodore Whitmore.

Jacomeno Barrett (Montego Bay United), Shaven Paul (Portmore United), Nicholas Campbell (Marverly United), Dicoy Williams (Arnett Gardens FC), Ladale Ritchie (Montego Bay United), Damano Solomon (Portmore United), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View FC), Romaine Brackenridge (Tivoli Gardens), Kareem Manning (Portmore United), Jamie Robinson (UWI), Ewan Grandison (Portmore United), Andrew Vanzie (Humble Lion), Dwayne Ambusley (Montego Bay United), Tevin Shaw (Tivoli Gardens), Owayne Gordon (Montego Bay United), Rohan Richards (Jamalco FC), Allan Ottey (Montego Bay United), Shamar Nicholson (Boys Town FC), Rodave Murray (Waterhouse), Javon East (Portmore United), Jamiel Hardware (Boys Town FC), Dino Williams (Montego Bay United).