2008 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Final Round Qualifying to be Held in Mexico
CHICAGO (November 15, 2007) - The 2008 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Final Round qualifying tournament will be held April 2-13 at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario in the city of Chihuahua, the capital of the northern state of Chihuahua, Mexico. The six-team tournament will determine the two CONCACAF countries that will participate in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. All matches will be played on an artificial surface.
This will be the second-ever women’s Olympic qualifying tournament for CONCACAF, following the 2004 competition that was held in Costa Rica. The USA won that tournament, defeating Mexico 3-2 in the championship game. Mexico upset Canada, 2-1, in the semifinals to earn its first-ever berth to the Olympics. The USA qualified automatically for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as host, and for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the 1999 Women’s World Cup served as the qualifying tournament for all the teams, with the top eight finishers advancing to Australia.
The six participating teams will include the defending Olympic champion USA along with Canada and Mexico from the North Zone, all of which received byes into the Final Round. Joining them will be Costa Rica, who recently qualified from the Central American Zone, and two teams from the Caribbean. The two Caribbean spots will filled by either Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba or Jamaica with those teams playing a round-robin tournament later in the year.
A draw to determine the first round groups of the tournament, as well as a complete schedule, will be staged by CONCACAF when all the teams have been confirmed.
For the first time, the Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament will feature 12 teams, up from 10 in 2004 and eight for both 2000 and 1996.
Six of the 12 teams for Beijing are already set. By virtue of their finish at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Germany and Norway will represent Europe. Japan and North Korea have qualified from Asia, and China has an automatic berth as host. Argentina has qualified from South America, forcing Brazil into a playoff against the second place finisher from Africa. Qualifying in Africa is on-going with Ghana and Nigeria in position to battle for the lone automatic berth. One team will also qualify from Oceania. Sweden and Denmark are currently engaged in a two-leg playoff series to determine Europe’s third berth to Beijing. Sweden won the first match 4-2 and is sitting in excellent position heading into the return leg on Nov. 28.