France planning exhibition against U.S. before World Cup

Former Russian soccer player Nikita Simonyan holds up the team name of France at the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

PARIS — France is planning to play the United States in an exhibition on June 9 at Lyon as part of its preparations for the World Cup.

The French Football Federation announced the match on Thursday. The U.S. Soccer Federation said the game was in the planning stages but a contract had not been signed. The U.S. will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

France, runner-up at last year’s European Championship, said it will play Colombia at Saint-Denis on March 23, then travel to Russia to face the World Cup hosts four days later.

France plans a match on May 28 and will play Italy on June 1. At the World Cup, France opens against Australia on June 16, meets Peru five days later and closes its group stage against Denmark on June 26.

Dave Sarachan will remain the interim U.S. coach for the Americans’ Jan. 28 exhibition against Bosnia-Herzegovina at Carson, California. Bruce Arena quit as coach after the Americans were eliminated in October. Sarachan coached the team for last month’s 1-1 tie at Portugal.

USSF president Sunil Gulati is not running for re-election, and the Americans have no significant matches until the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

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