The U.S. Soccer Federation is looking into the possibility of an event next year involving nations that did not qualify for the World Cup.
The idea of an exhibition tournament has been floated for soccer tenth-ranked the United States, Italy, Chile, Netherlands and Cameroon that won’t be playing in Russia.
Italy hadn’t missed the tournament in 60 years, Chile was the ninth-ranked team in the world, the Netherlands were a top-3 team in two of the previous three World Cups and Cameroon is the current champions of Africa.
The possible pop-up tournament is being compared to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) – or as some call it “Not In Tournament” of college basketball.
The USSF confirmed it was exploring the idea after a report Tuesday by Fox. The United States was eliminated from World Cup contention when it lost 2-1 at Trinidad and Tobago last month.
The tournament idea, first suggested on social media, gained traction Monday when Italy was eliminated by Sweden, which advanced with a 1-0 aggregate playoff win.
It is not clear whether FIFA would allow exhibition games during the World Cup, which runs from June 14 to July 15.