The Match Europe v USA starts in Minsk tomorrow ©European Athletics

Team Europe and Team USA meet over two days of competition in Minsk starting tomorrow in an updated version of the dual nation meetings common in the 1960s and 70s - The Match.

Competition will take place in the renovated Dinamo National Olympic Stadium that hosted the DNA format athletics events, plus the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, at the second European Games in June.

The match, billed as the inaugural version, was agreed between European Athletics and USA Track & Field in December 2018, marking the first international contest between the two since the 1960s.

This is the last major event on the athletics calendar before the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Doha from September 27 to October 6.

The stadium played host to a similar dual nation event in 1973, when teams from the Soviet Union and the United States met, with the overall victory going to the hosts.

The track events should be finely balanced between Team Europe and Team USA but the of advantage looks likely to be with the home contingent in the throws.

The competition, featuring eight athletes per event, will include a mixed 4x400 metres relay, which is due to make its Olympic debut in Tokyo next year.

Individual winners will get $7,000 (£5,500/€6,000) with $5,000 (£4,000/€4,500) on offer for second place and $4,000 (£3,000/€3,500) for third place.

Relay winners will share $6,000 (£5,000/€5,250) with $4,000 (£3,000/€3,500) going to second place and $2,000 (£1,500/€1,750) for third.

Germany's Olympic javelin champion Thomas Rohler will be seeking maximum points for Team Europe ©Getty Images
Germany's Olympic javelin champion Thomas Rohler will be seeking maximum points for Team Europe ©Getty Images

A clean sweep is a strong possibility in the men's javelin as reigning Olympic and European champion and event ambassador Thomas Rohler is joined by German team mate and reigning world champion Johannes Vetter, Lithuania's 19-year-old talent Edis Matusevicius and Estonia's Magnus Kirt - the only thrower to eclipse the 90 metre barrier this year.

The US side includes multiple world and Olympic sprint champion Allyson Felix in the 400m, where she will take on Poland’s European champion Justyna Święty-Ersetic.

Four-time world long jump champion Brittney Reese will face strong opposition in the form of European silver medallist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk from Ukraine and home favourite Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova.

Reigning Olympic shot put champion Michelle Carter faces European champion Paulina Guba from Poland and world indoor champion Anita Marton from Hungary,

The European team features no fewer than six reigning world champions and 15 reigning European champions from Berlin last summer.

The Poles contribute five reigning European champions, with Swiety-Ersetic and Guba joined by Michal Haratyk in the men’s shot put, Adam Kszczot in the 800m and Wojciech Nowicki in the hammer.

The European team also features Olympic, world and European pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, who won the IAAF Diamond League title in Brussels last Friday as she equalled her season’s best of 4.83m.

World indoor champion Sandi Morris and London 2012 Jenn Suhr might be missing from the US team but there will be a strong challenge from the in-form Katie Nageotte, who has twice cleared 4.82m this season.

In-form Katie Nageotte will represent the US in the women's pole vault ©Getty Images
In-form Katie Nageotte will represent the US in the women's pole vault ©Getty Images

Fellow Team Europe ambassadors Mariya Lasitskene and Ramil Guliyev also arrive in Minsk fresh from excellent performances in the Brussels Diamond League final.

In the 100m, the United States will be counting on prolific sub-10 performer Mike Rodgers to secure maximum points, although British champion Ojie Edoburun and Italian record-holder Filippo Tortu could produce something special.

The focus of attention in the 100m hurdles will be squarely on reigning European champion and home favourite Elvira Herman who faces an accomplished US team which includes Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali and Sharika Nelvis.

Team Europe has also named a strong team in the 110m hurdles which features former world and European champion Sergey Shubenkov, whose third place finish in the Brussels Diamond League on Friday night in 13.33 was by far his best race since returning to competition after a mid-season leg injury.

Diamond League winner Orlando Ortega of Spain is also representing Team Europe in the high hurdles.