Friday’s international friendly match between Japan’s Samurai Blue and the United States men’s team (USMNT) will be more than a key test ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar: it will be a meeting between two teams that have developed in parallel gracefully, crossing each other for the last time. in a February 2006 friendly game in San Francisco.
Both countries’ domestic leagues are less than 30 years old – the J. League launched in 1993 and Major League Soccer followed soon after in 1996 – and have firmly established themselves in their respective sporting landscapes, overcoming apathy and sometimes even outright hostility.
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