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USMNT to play friendly against Croatia in London

The U.S. is going to London ... to play Croatia?

Harry Engels

The United States will play Croatia on November 12 at Craven Cottage in London, the Croatian Football Federation announced. U.S. Soccer has not confirmed the match, but they are usually last to confirm or announce all of their friendlies.

The match comes on a FIFA date, and a double date at that. The U.S. had already scheduled a friendly against Ireland in Dublin on November 18, and now they have a match six days earlier to give them two contests.

Croatia are ranked 19th in the world and coming off of a disappointing World Cup in which they managed just three points and couldn't get out of Group A. They have a few bonafide stars in Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic, but they also rely on a few aging players and have some holes in their team. Still, it will be a good test for the Americans, playing a solid European team in Europe.

Unfortunately, the U.S. won't have a completely full team to counter the Croatians' expected top side. The match comes in the middle of the MLS Playoffs so players whose teams are in the conference finals likely will not be called in, even though the league is taking a break for the internationals.

The U.S. rarely play neutral site matches, but they are relatively common, and Craven Cottage is a common venue for them. Fulham regularly make the ground available for internationals and teams take advantage. It will be especially nice for the U.S. because they will just have played in Dublin so travel will be short and not disruptive. That Brian McBride was a Fulham hero and they named the stadium pub McBride's after him is a bonus.

Way back in 1990, the U.S. played Croatia in the Croatians' first ever international match. The American government supported Croatia's independence and then U.S. Soccer helped campaign for FIFA to recognize the country before playing in their first match. Croatia won that match, 2-1, in Zagreb, and the two nations haven't played since.