Former Napoli's and current Italy coach Luciano Spalletti arrives for...

Former Napoli's and current Italy coach Luciano Spalletti arrives for the FIFA Football Awards 2023 at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Credit: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

MILAN — Almost 19 years after its last visit, Italy will return to the United States for friendlies against Venezuela and Ecuador next month.

The Azzurri will face Venezuela for the first time on March 21 at Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium — the home of Lionel Messi — before travelling to New York to play Ecuador three days later.

Italy has played Ecuador twice, winning 2-0 at the 2002 World Cup and drawing 1-1 in a friendly in New York in 2005, the last time the Azzurri travelled to America.

Italy will use the matches as part of its preparation for its European Championship defense. Luciano Spalletti’s side is in a group with Spain, Croatia and Albania at Euro 2024, which kicks off on June 14 in Germany.

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