Kosuke Kimura expects tough fight between Japan and USMNT

Friday’s international friendly 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 who have developed in graceful parallel, last intersecting at a February 2006 friendly 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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