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US-Italy November friendly booked into Belgian stadium

Chicago (AFP) – Four-time World Cup champion Italy will play the United States in a November 20 football friendly at Luminus Arena in Genk, Belgium, the US Soccer Federation announced Tuesday.

It will be the closing match for the Americans this year, a bittersweet campaign in which they could only watch from afar as rivals competed in the World Cup in Russia.

The match and date had been announced but no venue had been firmly linked to the game until this week.

The Americans will close the year playing six teams ranked in FIFA’s top 25 as they begin studying talent at the start of a new World Cup cycle, a lineup that also includes Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and England whom the US squad will face at Wembley Stadium on November 15.

US Soccer officials also home to name a new full-time coach by the end of October, so the European matches will likely provide an early major test for whoever is charged with returning the American squad to the World Cup level.

The Italians own a record of 7-1 with three drawn against the Americans, whose only victory came in their most recent meeting in 2012 at Genoa, a Clint Dempsey strike bringing a 1-0 triumph.

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