MIAMI - CONCACAF confirmed Thursday that its Olympic men's qualifying soccer tournament, originally scheduled to be played last spring in Guadalajara, Mexico, will take place March 18-30 at the same location.

The eight-country tournament will determine two teams to represent North and Central America at the Tokyo Games. The Olympic soccer competition is slated to run July 21 through Aug. 7.

The CONCACAF qualifying field has been divided into two groups. The top two in each pool advance to the semifinals with the semifinal winners booking their ticket to the Olympics.

The Canadian men, who have not qualified for the Olympics since 1984 when they lost to Brazil in a quarterfinal penalty shootout, will play in Group B with Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti.

Mauro Biello will coach the Canadian under-23 side.

The U.S., which failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, is in Group A with Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

Matches will be played at Jalisco and Akron stadiums.

The CONCACAF tournament was postponed because of the global pandemic.

FIFA has kept the same eligibility rules that were first established, saying players must be born after Jan. 1, 1997. Clubs are not required to release players to teams for qualifying, so many top young players are expected to miss the tournament.

Women’s Olympic qualifying in CONCACAF took place in January-February 2020 before the pandemic. Canada, which won bronze at the last two Olympics, and the defending champion U.S. have both qualified.


With files from The Associated Press

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