With most league schedules pausing for September’s FIFA break, attention this week turns to the first round of international games since the end of the World Cup. Here are a few worth watching:
North America: Neither Mexico nor the U.S. has a permanent manager in place so both teams will begin the new World Cup cycle under interim bosses, Mexico with Tigres coach Ricardo Ferretti and the U.S. with former Galaxy assistant Dave Sarachan. Both face tough opponents in their first friendlies Friday: Mexico plays Uruguay in Houston (Univision, 7 p.m. PT) and the U.S. meets Brazil in East Rutherford, N.J. (FS1, Univision, 5:30 p.m.) The U.S. and Mexico then face each other Tuesday in Nashville (ESPN, Univision, 5 p.m. PT). Also Friday, Argentina — without Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and other World Cup players — will meet Guatemala at the L.A. Coliseum (BeIN Sports, 8 p.m. PT).
Europe: In its first match since winning the World Cup in Russia in July, France played 2014 champion Germany to a scoreless tie in the opening game of the newly created UEFA Nations League on Thursday. The French will next be tested by the Netherlands, the 2010 World Cup runner-up, Sunday (Unimas, ESPN Plus, 11:30 a.m. PT). England is also in the Nations Cup and, in its first match since its surprising run to the semifinals in Russia, it plays Spain, the 2010 world champion, on Saturday (ESPN Plus, 11:35 a.m. PT).