After recent friendlies against sides ranked 47th, 25th and 46th in the world, the USWNT is now preparing for an October that'll either certify its status as the 2023 World Cup favorite or potentially shift that tag to a European rival.
We already knew about the showdown between the United States and European champion England at Wembley on Oct. 7, but on Monday, the U.S. announced another heavyweight clash — at trip to El Sadar in Pamplona to play Spain on Oct. 11.
Spain's run at Euro 2022 was actually brought to a halt by England at the quarterfinal stage. La Roja showcased its technical quality by dominating possession in all four of its matches, but the team struggled in the final third (no player finished with more than one goal) and desperately missed Alexia Putellas after losing the 2021 Ballon d'Or winner to an ACL injury.
Putellas is still recovering and focused on returning for her club side, Barcelona, but the U.S. backline will be tested by Real Madrid striker Esther González, Barça's Patri Guijarro and recent Pachuca signing Jennifer Hermoso.
How To Watch USWNT Vs. Spain 2022 Friendly
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 11 | Time: 2:30 p.m. ET / 8:30 p.m. local
Location: Pamplona, Spain | Stadium: El Sadar | TV: ESPN2
The two teams last met in 2020 at the SheBelieves Cup, when the U.S. won 1-0 thanks to an 87th-minute Julie Ertz header. Before that, it was the last-16 clash at the 2019 Women's World Cup in France. The U.S. squeaked through 2-1 with two controversial penalties, and that hasn't been forgotten in Spain.
"I know Spain fell short of their goals at the Euros, but they are a fantastic team, one of the best in the world, with world class players all over the field and as a coaching staff, we are really looking forward to the challenges these two games will present for our team," USWNT manager Vlatko Andonovski said. "Away matches against England and Spain are among the most difficult and high-profile friendlies a team can play and having those experiences will be valuable in many different ways for continuing preparations for the World Cup."
Spain qualified for the 2023 tournament by topping UEFA Group B with a record of eight matches played, eight won, 53 scored and zero conceded. A lot of that was down to beating the Faroe Islands by a combined scoreline of 22-0 over two games.