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McKennie: U.S. now expects to beat world’s best

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McKennie: U.S. now expects to beat world’s best

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The U.S. men’s national team is ready to show it can beat the world’s top teams, midfielder Weston McKennie said on Wednesday, as it prepares to face Germany in a home friendly.

The USMNT plays the four-time World Cup winners on Saturday in East Hartford, Connecticut, in what may be a rare opportunity to face a major European power before co-hosting the 2026 World Cup.

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“We always compared ourselves in terms of, you know, we wanted to compete with top-level countries,” McKennie told reporters on a virtual media call Wednesday. “We expect ourselves to win these games now instead of just competing with them.”

The Juventus player helped the U.S. to the round of 16 in last year’s World Cup in Qatar following their humiliating failure to qualify for the 2018 tournament.

Gregg Berhalter’s team heads into Saturday’s game on a 13-match unbeaten streak with another friendly against Ghana set for Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee.

The U.S. has already claimed a spot at the 2026 tournament as co-hosts and will not need to go through qualifying.

“It’s a great opportunity to kind of see where we’re at,” said McKennie.

“And [to] win these type of games because [they are] the type of games that we have to win to advance the program forward, to advance ourselves forward and to be successful in the coming years.”

Germany, which faces Mexico, also on Tuesday, in Philadelphia, will be playing its first game under coach Julian Nagelsmann. The former Bayern Munich manager was appointed last month until after next year’s Euro 2024 finals on home soil.

Germany is hungry for a chance at redemption after exiting at the group stage for the second World Cup in a row.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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