The United States will travel to Ukraine for an international friendly on March 5. This match -- one of the final tune-ups for the USMNT prior to their 2014 World Cup trip -- would pit them against the best team in the world not summering in Brazil.
Ukraine finished second in UEFA Group H to England in this latest qualifying cycle, won the opening leg of its home-and-away playoff against France 2-0 on Nov. 15, then lost a heartbreaking (for them) 3-0 match in Paris four days later, to miss out on yet another World Cup by the slimmest of aggregate margins. Since Ukraine re-formed as an independent nation in 1991, its team has only been to one World Cup, in 2006, where they lost to eventual champions Italy in the quarterfinals. Currently ranked 18th in the world according to FIFA, Ukraine is the highest-ranked team not to be playing in this year's World Cup.
There's another slight wrinkle for American soccer fans -- the match comes three days before the MLS season starts, which presents a quandary for any MLS fantasy owners relying on USMNT players. (Or, if you prefer to live in reality, potentially creates a lot of travel and fatigue for American players making the trip to Eastern Europe and back.)
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