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.
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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