USA to play final pre-World Cup friendly vs. Nigeria in Jacksonville

Gary Bogdon

Jacksonville will send the U.S. off to Brazil.

The United States' pre-World Cup friendly against Nigeria has been finalized, according to the BBC. The Americans will play the Super Eagles on June 7 at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, their final friendly before leaving for Brazil.

The U.S. intends to play three friendlies on home soil in late May and early June to prepare for the tournament. The first is expected to be on the west coast, where Jurgen Klinsmann will hold a training camp, then the team will go east to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ before finishing in Jacksonville.

ESPN originally reported that the U.S. would play friendlies in those three sites and that the final one would be against Nigeria, although at the time Jacksonville was one of multiple cities in Florida vying for the match. That report also said that U.S. Soccer had discussed playing the first two friendlies against some combination of Sweden, Serbia and Turkey, among others.

The Super Eagles have a chance to advance out of a weak Group F in the World Cup. Argentina should win the group, but Nigeria are more than capable of besting Bosia-Herzegovina and Iran for second place. Led by the best defense in Africa -- no one allowed fewer goals than the three they surrendered in the second round of African qualifying before dispatching Ethopia 4-1 in the third round -- the Super Eagles will give the U.S. attack a serious challenge nine days before the Americans open their World Cup against Ghana in Natal.

Nigeria will be the first African opponent that the U.S. has played since November 17, 2010, when they took on South Africa in Cape Town. That match marked Juan Agudelo's senior team debut and saw him score the winning goal, becoming the youngest player to score for the U.S. in the modern era.

The last time the U.S. played in Jacksonville was on May 26, 2012, when Landon Donovan scored a hat trick as the Americans hammered Scotland, 5-1, in front of 44,438 fans. In a World Cup year, and it being the last friendly before the U.S. leaves for Brazil, the city of Jacksonville could make it a 76,000 capacity sellout this time around.

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