June 25, 2018 / 9:08 PM / 10 months ago

U.S. to play Brazil, England Italy and Mexico in friendlies

FILE PHOTO: Jun 23, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart walks the field during halftime of a game between the Philadelphia Union and the Vancouver Whitecaps at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The United States will play Brazil, England, Italy and Mexico as part of a six-game series of high-profile friendlies announced by U.S. Soccer on Monday with an eye on preparing their young team for the next World Cup qualifying cycle.

The United States failed to reach the World Cup finals in Russia. The team will host five-time world champions Brazil in New Jersey on Sept. 7 followed by a match against old rivals Mexico at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on Sept. 11.

The team, currently without a coach, will also play two home matches in October, with their opponents to be confirmed at a later date. They will then head to Europe for friendlies against England on Nov. 15 at London’s Wembley Stadium and versus Italy on Nov. 20 at a venue yet to be determined.

“We are at the beginning phase of building our identity,” national team general manager Earnie Stewart said in a statement.

“These games are obviously huge challenges, and for young players it’s an opportunity to see the benchmark of some of the top teams in the world.

“We can use these experiences to learn about ourselves and take the next steps toward developing into the team we want to become.”

Bruce Arena resigned as U.S. coach last October after his squad failed to qualify for the World Cup, which ended the Americans’ streak of seven consecutive appearances in the global showpiece.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Chadband and Peter Graff

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