FIFA Reaffirms Event
The FIFA Confederations Cup, scheduled to be played in France in June and featuring the United States as one of its eight participants, will go ahead as planned, despite the war in Iraq, FIFA said Monday.
World soccer’s governing body earlier postponed the 24-nation FIFA World Youth Championship, which was to have started today in the United Arab Emirates, but FIFA spokesman Andres Herren said there were no plans to cancel or delay the June 18-29 Confederations Cup.
“We have every intention of staging it,” Herren said.
The U.S. has been grouped with Brazil, Cameroon and Turkey in the first round of the tournament. Colombia, France, Japan and New Zealand make up the other group.
In a related development, Saturday’s European Championship qualifying match between Liechtenstein and England will take place as scheduled after UEFA was assured by Liechtenstein that adequate security would be provided at the 3,500-seat Rheinparkstadion in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
Because of England’s presence, the Liechtenstein soccer federation had expressed concern about potential terrorist activity or anti-war demonstrations. The federation has drafted 1,100 Austrian and Swiss police officers -- almost one for every three spectators -- to provide security at the game.
The Lebanon Football Assn. on Monday suspended all league and cup play “until further notice” as a precaution because of what the federation described as “the war currently ravaging neighboring Iraq.”
Kuwait also has suspended play, but leagues in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Turkey all are continuing as normal.
U.S. national team goalkeeper Kasey Keller on Monday signed a contract extension that will keep him with Tottenham Hotspur through the 2004-2005 English Premier League season.
Former Galaxy striker Eduardo “El Tanque” Hurtado scored his first goal for unbeaten El Nacional in Ecuador as it beat defending league champion Emelec, 4-0.
In the same league, former Dallas Burn and San Jose Earthquake forward Ariel Graziani scored two more goals, bringing his total to five in three games, as Barcelona defeated Deportivo Cuenca, 3-0.
In Denmark, U.S. national team and former San Jose defender Wade Barrett made his debut for Aarhus in a 2-2 tie with FC Copenhagen.
South American champion Olimpia of Paraguay, which won the Copa Libertadores last season under Argentine coach Nery Pumpido, has accepted Pumpido’s resignation after a poor start to the defense of its title and named Alicio Solalinde as its coach.
The Mexican league race tightened up over the weekend when Chivas of Guadalajara, the overall leader, was held to a 2-2 tie at Necaxa and Morelia moved into a tie for second place overall with a 2-0 shutout of UNL, which had been alone in second place.
Guadalajara (6-1-4, 22 points) was involved in a see-saw battle at Necaxa, taking the lead on an Omar Bravo goal, then watching Braulio Luna and Angel Sosa put the home team in front before Bravo’s second goal secured a point.
The Monarcas of Morelia (6-3-2, 20 points) got second-half goals from Reinaldo Navia and Carlos Morales while shutting out UNL’s Tigres (6-3-2, 20 points).
Last season’s leading scorer, Jose Cardozo, scored twice in Toluca’s 3-0 rout of Club America, but Cardozo’s 12 goals in 11 games this season still trails Sebastian Gonzalez, who scored his 14th in Atlante’s 2-1 victory over Pachuca.