Thomas Rongen's U-20s will face Paraguay, third in the South American under-20 championship completed last night in Uruguay, on March 27, Asian champion South Korea on March 30 and European runner-up Germany on April 2. All the games will be played in Dubai, not Al Ain as previously reported.
There has been concern that the World Youth Championship will have to be moved from the UAE in the event of a U.S.-led war against Iraq. The United States has a military base in Al Dafrah, located south of Dubai. Complicating matters is that FIFA may be forced to decide before a war were to break out to move the tournament. Most observers believe an attack would begin in late February or early March. Japan has been rumored to be in line to host the tournament in case it is decided that the UAE can't host the tournament. It is not known if the dates of the tournament would change in case it is moved.
FIFA's president, Sepp Blatter, has close ties to the UAE and the Gulf States. FIFA announced yesterday that it had signed a $30 million deal to make Emirates Airline the 13th official partner of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.