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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

Feb. 25, 2008
DRAWN TOGETHER
U.S. women to face Mexico in qualifying


Abby Wambach and the U.S. Women's National Team have been drawn into a group with Mexico and Jamaica for Olympic Qualifying.
Abby Wambach and the U.S. Women's National Team have been drawn into a group with Mexico and Jamaica for Olympic Qualifying.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The U.S. has been drawn into Group A along with Jamaica and host Mexico for the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico April 2-12.

The U.S. will open the tournament against Jamaica Aprul 4 before facing Mexico April 6. Both games will be played in the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez, which will host all 10 games during the qualifying tournament.

The top two teams from Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will crossover to face the top two teams from Group B. That group includes Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The winners of the April 9 semifinals will qualify for the Olympics in Beijing in August. The championship game is April 12.

The U.S. has faced Jamaica once, a 10-0 victory 14 years ago in a Women’s World Cup qualifying match in Montreal, Canada. Mexico is a more familiar opponent for the U.S., with the teams having faced each other 22 times. The U.S. has dominated the rivalry, winning the first 21 meetings before Mexico earned a 1-1 tie on Oct. 20, 2007.

The U.S. is preparing for qualifying at the Algarve Cup in southern Portugal March 5-12 in southern Portugal. Coach Pia Sundhage has taken a 20-player roster to face China, Italy and Norway.

The U.S. will look to qualify for a fourth consecutive SummerGames and finish in first place at CONCACAF qualifying for the second consecutive time. In 2004, the U.S. won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica, and went on to win gold at the 2004 Olympic Games. The U.S. qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Games as host, and for the 2000 Sydney Games as a top-seven finisher at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Seven teams already have aqualified for the 12-team Olympic tournament. Japan, North Korea and China (hosts) from Asia, Argentina from COMNEBOL, and Germany, Norway and Sweden from UEFA have already booked tickets. In addition to the two teams from CONCACAF, one team from Oceania and one team from Africa have yet to qualify. Brazil will face the runner-up from Africa in a one-game playoff for the final Olympic berth in Beijing April 19.
   
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