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Olympic Qualifying

Canada, Guatemala join U.S. in qualifying for Hershey.

(Thursday, March 30, 2000) -- Half of the field of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Hershey, Pa., next month is set after Canada and Guatemala qualified last week and joined the United States in the final round.

Canada won the first-round Group A title last week in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, by defeating Trinidad 2-0, the Netherlands Antilles 1-0, and then earning a scoreless draw with Guatemala.

Trinidad had been the favorite in the group, but finished third and was eliminated after first drawing with Guatemala and then losing to Canada. Guatemala finished one point higher in the group standings and qualified. Hershey. Guatemala played scoreless ties with Canada and T&T, and then beat the Netherlands Antilles 9-1.

The other two first round qualifying tournaments will take place next week.

In Guadalajara, Mexico, in Group B, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Honduras and host Mexico will fight for two spots in Hershey. In Group C action in Panama City, Panama, Bermuda, Panama and Cuba will contest for the final berth in the next round.

The United States, as host of the final round, drew a bye. It will be in Group D in Hershey. Canada, by winning Group A, moves into Group D also. The second place finisher in Group B in Guadalajara will complete Group D. Group E, the other group in Hershey, will contain Guatemala, and the winners in Group B in Guadalajara and Group C in Panama City.

The U.S. will play its two group matches in Hershey April 21 and April 25. If it finishes in one of the top two spots in Group D, it will advance to the cross-over semifinals on April 28. The two teams who win the semifinals, qualify for the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, in September.

There will be a qualifying final in Hershey on Sunday, April 30, but it is a largely meaningless match.

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