Canadian men to open Olympic soccer qualifying tournament against El Salvador

The Canadian men will open CONCACAF Olympic soccer qualifying against El Salvador on March 19 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Canada will then face Haiti on March 22 and Honduras on March 25 to complete Group B play.

While the groups were announced in January, CONCACAF unveiled the schedule Friday for the 15th edition of the Olympic qualifying tournament set for March 18 to 30 at Guadalajara's Jalisco and Akron stadiums.

The eight-team tournament, originally scheduled to be played last spring, will determine two teams to represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at the Tokyo Games. The Olympic soccer competition is slated to run July 21 through Aug. 7.

Group A of the qualifying tournament features the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

The top two in each pool advance to the semifinals with the March 28 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 be coached by Mauro Biello.

FIFA has kept the same eligibility rules that were first established, saying players must be born after Jan. 1, 1997.

Women's Olympic qualifying 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.


Canada's Schedule at CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying (all times ET)

At Guadalajara, Mexico

Group Stage

March 19

Canada vs El Salvador, Jalisco Stadium, 6 p.m.

March 22

Haiti vs Canada, Akron Stadium, 6 p.m.

March 25

Honduras vs Canada, Jalisco Stadium, 9:30 p.m.

Knockout Stage

Semifinals

March 28

1B vs 2A, Jalisco Stadium, 6 p.m.

1A vs 2B, Jalisco Stadium, 9 p.m.

Final

March 30

At Akron Stadium, 9 p.m.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press