"The rescheduling was agreed because of difficulties involved in the release of players for certain of the eight competing countries," said FIFA in making the announcement. "The French Football Federation has notified FIFA that, unlike the original January period, it will be able to field a strong team in July/August."
The U.S. is still scheduled to take on New Zealand (July 28), Brazil (Aug. 1) and France (Aug. 3) at Guadalajara's Jalisco Stadium in Group B action. The semifinals are now set for August 5, while the third place game and final will be played on Aug. 7 and 8, respectively.
"Obviously, this change presents a scheduling conflict with MLS," said U.S. Soccer's Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher, "We have been waiting for this final decision from FIFA and will now proceed with trying to make it work."
The FIFA Confederations Cup is an eight-team tournament which matches the champions from each of FIFA's six confederations. The tournament was contested under FIFA's auspices for the first time in 1997, replacing the Intercontinental Championship which was played in 1992 and 1995. The three previous tournaments were each held in Saudi Arabia.
Below is a look at the Confederations Cup draw and how each team qualified for the event.
|Mexico||'98 Gold Cup winner and host||Brazil||'97 Copa America winner and holders|
|Bolivia||'97 Copa America runner-up||France||Best European finish in '98 World Cup|
|Egypt||'98 African Nations Cup winner||New Zealand||'98 Nations Cup winner|
|Saudi Arabia||'96 Asian Cup winners||United States||'98 Gold Cup runner-up|