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2003 Confederations Cup draw/fixtures

PARIS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Turkey have been given the chance to take revenge on world champions Brazil in the Confederations Cup first round after the draw on Wednesday brought together the two countries who met in last year's World Cup semi-finals.

The draw, which served as a curtain raiser to the friendly match between France and Czech Republic, also gives Japan the opportunity to make amends for their narrow defeat in the 2001 Confederations Cup final against France.

Manchester United's former France captain Laurent Blanc, who made the draw, put Brazil in a strong group B with Turkey, the United States and African Nations Cup winners Cameroon.

Defending champions France, seeded in group A as the host country, will take on Japan, Colombia and New Zealand in the FIFA tournament in Paris, Lyon and St Etienne from June 18-29.

'It was an interesting draw,' said former France captain and manager Michel Platini. 'It will give the opportunity to several countries to take revenge from what happened at the World Cup last year.

'We will see if countries like Turkey, Japan and the United States, who did pretty well last year, can confirm their improvement.'

SURPRISE PACKAGE

Turkey were one of the surprise packages of the finals in South Korea and Japan when they finished third after losing 1-0 to a Brazil team heading for a record fifth world title.

European champions France meet Japan again after a 1-0 victory in the 2001 Confederations Cup final and French team manager Henri Emile stressed it is an important event.

'This tournament means something to us,' he said. 'We are going to take on the Japanese again. It's going to be the perfect opportunity to see where they stand.

'The Confederations Cup can be useful, especially for the young players. It will help them to gain some experience at the highest level. It's good to prepare for the future and the 2004 European championship.'

However, earlier on Wednesday at a meeting in Switzerland Europe's leading clubs expressed their opposition to the FIFA event by joining UEFA in a united front against the tournament and threatened to withdraw their players if it goes ahead.

'The Confederations Cup will not exist any more ten years from now,' Platini said. 'But for the time being contracts with television have been sealed worldwide.

'If we want to suppress this event we must face the financial consequences. These deals were set a long time ago and we have to respect them.

'I'm not sure all the countries are going to send their best sides. But at least I'm certain we will have some good football matches.'

Group A
France
Japan
Colombia
New Zealand

Group B
Brazil
United States
Cameroon
Turkey

Fixtures

Wednesday, June 18
New Zealand v Japan - Paris
France v Colombia - Lyon

Thursday, June 19
Turkey v United States - St Etienne
Brazil v Cameroon - Paris

Friday, June 20
Colombia v New Zealand - Lyon
France v Japan - St Etienne

Saturday, June 21
Cameroon v Turkey - Paris
Brazil v United States - Lyon

Sunday, June 22
France v New Zealand - Paris
Japan v Colombia - St Etienne

Monday, June 23
Brazil v Turkey - St Etienne
United States v Cameroon - Lyon

Semi-finals, Thursday, June 26
1-Group B v 2-Group A - Lyon
1-Group A v 2-Group B - Paris

Saturday, June 28
3rd/4th place play-off - St Etienne

Sunday, June 29
Final - Paris