With the World Cup creeping closer each day, club soccer is pressing pause one more time before the big dance. A full slate of friendlies will replace your weekly dose of MLS this week, as national teams try to work out their kinks and make their final adjustments before World Cup squads drop on November 9. This guide will help all you MNUFC fans navigate the crazy schedule of international soccer this week so you don’t miss anything important.
Less than two months remain for Gregg Berhalter to finalize his roster for Qatar, but questions remain. Jesus Ferreira seems like a lock to be on the plane, but what strikers will join him? USMNT fans are likely sick of hearing about their team’s striker dilemma; it’s time to stop talking and start playing. Norwich forward Josh Sargent and Groningen forward Ricardo Pepi will be vying for spots this window, with both youngsters eager to prove that the hype they once generated was not ill-placed.
Beyond the battle for spots, this young USMNT will be hoping to build a greater understanding and fluidity into their squad. The raw talent all over the pitch is evident — getting that talent to work together has always been their biggest challenge. With Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Brendon Aaronson and Tyler Adams all getting the call-up, you won’t want to miss either of these games featuring a nearly full-strength US squad.
- Japan v. USA - Friday, September 23 at 7:25 am
- To be played in Dusseldorf Germany
- Where to watch: ESPN 2, ESPN+, Unimas, TUDN
- Saudi Arabia v. USA - Tuesday, September 27 at 1:00 pm
- To be played in Murcia, Spain
- Where to watch: FS1, Unimas, TUDN
Four Loons were called up to their respective national squads for this international break: Dayne St. Clair for Canada, Michael Boxall for New Zealand, and duo Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales for Honduras.
While St. Clair isn’t Canada’s number one goalkeeper, his presence as a backup shows just how talented this Canada roster is at the moment. In preparation for their first World Cup appearance since 1986, the Maple Leafs will be playing two friendlies this window, both of which will be played in Europe.
First up, they will be taking on the hosts of this year’s tournament. Qatar’s squad has been specifically groomed for this year, boasting an uncommon level of team chemistry that will prove difficult for any team to handle.
In their second game, Canada will face another team heading to the World Cup, Uruguay. With stars Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez and Luis Suarez on the roster, this will be a great barometer to see how the Canucks stack up against some of the world’s best.
- Qatar v. Canada - Friday, September 23 at 12:00 pm
- To be played in Vienna, Austria
- Canada v. Uruguay - Tuesday, September 27 at 11:00 am
- To be played in Bratislava, Slovakia
MNUFC defender Michael Boxall will be with the New Zealand national team this window. Despite losing their World Cup playoff game against Costa Rica, the All Whites will be taking on their neighbors, Australia. For the Socceroos, these friendlies will be tune-ups for the World Cup. For New Zealand, it will be a chance to look forward and begin to plan for 2026.
- Australia v. New Zealand - Thursday, September 21 at 5:00 am
- To be played in Milton, Australia
- New Zealand v. Australia - Saturday, September 24 at 10:00 pm
- To be played in Auckland, New Zealand
Though they finished last in the third round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, Honduras is a true soccer nation. Not only have they been to the World Cup three times, despite a population of just under 10 million people, they have also managed some impressive results in the last few years. Most notably, they took down Canada by a score of 2-1 in a game that saw a goal from our very own Kervin Arriaga. Don’t count Arriaga and Rosales’ side out when they take on the mighty Argentina this Friday; they might surprise you.
- Argentina v. Honduras - Friday, September 22 at 7:00 pm
- To be played in Miami Gardens, Florida
- Honduras v. Guatemala - Tuesday, September 27 at 8:00 pm
- To be played in Houston, Texas
Other Notable Matches:
If you want to see something new or check out some teams that will be at the World Cup, there will be plenty of other games to watch during this break. These five matches are the most exciting, relevant and intriguing matchups on paper. All of these teams will be heading to Qatar in November, and each one of them has the potential to make magic happen on the field.
- South Korea v. Costa Rica - Friday, September 23 at 6:00 am
- Iran v. Uruguay - Friday, September 23 at 11:00 am
- Brazil v. Ghana - Friday, September 23 at 1:30 pm
- South Korea v. Cameroon - Tuesday, September 27 at 6:00 pm
- Iran v. Senegal - Tuesday, September 27 at TBD
If you’re looking to scout some European squads, you’re in luck. UEFA nations will be competing in UEFA Nations League play during this window, meaning that they have actual points on the line. Though the primary focus for all World Cup squads will be preparing for the tournament, the Nations League will add a level of intrigue to all European matches. Most Nations League games will be aired on Fox Sports and FuboTV.
- Belgium v. Wales - Thursday, September 22 at 1:45 pm
- Poland v. Netherlands - Thursday, September 22 at 1:45 pm
- Italy v. England - Friday, September 23 at 1:45 pm
- Spain v. Switzerland - Saturday, September 24 at 1:45 pm
- Wales v. Poland - Sunday, September 25 at 1:45 pm
- Denmark v. France - Sunday, September 25 at 1:45 pm
If you can’t catch any of the aforementioned games, make sure that you find time to watch the following two. England and Germany always produce sparks, while the battle for the Iberian peninsula has given us some of the greatest matches in recent memory. Harry Kane, Manuel Neuer, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pedri — these are just some of the star names that could feature in this window’s biggest games.
- England v. Germany - Monday, September 26 at 1:45 pm
- Portugal v. Spain - Tuesday, September 27 at 1:45 pm