CHICAGO (Wednesday, February 12, 2003) - The U.S. Men’s National Team was drawn into Group B and will face Brazil, Cameroon and Turkey at the sixth FIFA Confederations Cup from June 18-29 in France. The FIFA Confederations Cup draw took place today prior to France’s friendly international against the Czech Republic at the Stade de France in Paris.
The U.S. opens the tournament against two World Cup semifinalists, facing Turkey on June 19 in St. Etienne at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET), and then taking on Brazil on June 21 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). The U.S. concludes group play against Cameroon on June 23 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on June 26. The third-place match is scheduled for June 28, and the final takes place on June 29 in Paris.
"We are arguably in the toughest group in the Confederations Cup, and it will be a great challenge for the team," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena from Jamaica, where the U.S. is preparing for tonight's match with the Reggae Boyz. "We are excited about facing two opponents that are relatively unknown to us in Cameroon and Turkey, and, of course, playing against a familiar opponent in Brazil. Overall, it will be a great challenge for us and it will serve as great preparation for World Cup qualifying in 2004."
The U.S. has played Brazil ten times previously, managing only one win, a memorable 1-0 surprise in the 1998 Gold Cup. Meanwhile the U.S. is relatively unfamiliar with their other two first round opponents, playing Turkey only once - drawing 1-1 in Istanbul on September 4, 1991- and having never played Cameroon.
The U.S. has played in two previous Confederations Cup Tournaments, finishing third at both the inaugural event in 1992 and in 1999 in Mexico. Arena guided the team to some of their most impressive results at Mexico ‘99. In Mexico, the U.S. finished second in a group that included New Zealand, Brazil and Germany on the strength of a commanding 2-0 win over Germany in the deciding match. The U.S. then lost 1-0 to Mexico in a thrilling overtime affair at Estadio Azteca, before bouncing back and topping Saudi Arabia 2-0 in the third-place match.
France won the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, played in Korea/Japan as a dress rehearsal for the 2002 World Cup, and Mexico became the first host team to lift the Cup when they topped Brazil in the final in 1999.
The field at the Confederations Cup is comprised of the six confederation champions (Cameroon, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand and the USA), the World Cup Champions (Brazil) and a guest team (Turkey). Six of the nations fielded sides at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea / Japan, including four of the top nine finishers.