Feb 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. men’s team will face World Cup-bound France in one of three friendlies before the finals in Russia as they seek to fill in an empty schedule after they failed to qualify for the global showpiece for the first time since 1986.
The U.S. will also host Paraguay on March 27 in North Carolina before heading to Europe for games against Ireland in Dublin on June 2 and 1998 World Cup winners France in Lyon on June 9.
U.S. Soccer, still smarting from their failure to qualify for the finals, said they had planned their most demanding non-tournament schedule ever for the team and expected to announce more “high-profile” friendlies in September, October and November.
“Serious about the ambition to field a men’s team considered among the best in the world, U.S. Soccer will continue to seek matches against world-class soccer nations and in world-class venues,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement.
Coach Bruce Arena resigned last October after they failed to qualify for the finals and new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro, who was elected at the weekend, said a still-to-be-hired general manager would lead the search for a new coach.
The World Cup finals run from June 14-July 15.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury