Women's World Cup '99: CONCACAF qualifying tournament begins Aug. 28

CONCACAF will kick off its women's championship Aug. 28 in Toronto, Canada. Eight national teams will battle for the regional championship and its automatic berth to the 1999 Women's World Cup. Originally slated for Haiti, the tournament was moved to Toronto and will run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 6, 1998. Mexico, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Martinique and Puerto Rico join host Canada in the competition. All matches will be played at Centennial Stadium in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke. The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four, with the teams playing a round-robin format within their groups and the top two teams advancing to the semifinals Sept. 4. The winner of the tournament gets an automatic bid to USA '99, while the runner-up will meet Argentina in a home-and-home playoff to determine the Western Hemisphere's final spot at the Women's World Cup. The stiffest competition for the hosts figures to come from Mexico, which will feature up to six Mexican-American players in its starting lineup.

1998 CONCACAF Women's Championship

GROUP A Aug. 28 -- Canada vs. Puerto Rica, Guatemala vs. Martinique. Aug. 30 -- Puerto Rico vs. Guatemala, Canada vs. Martinique. Sept. 1 -- Puerto Rico vs. Martinique, Canada vs. Guatemala. GROUP B Aug. 29 -- Trinidad & Tobago vs. Haiti, Mexico vs. Costa Rica. Aug. 31 -- Haiti vs. Mexico, Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago. Sept. 2 -- Costa Rica vs. Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico. SEMIFINALS Sept. 4 -- Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up, Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up. CHAMPIONSHIP Sept. 6 -- semifinal winners.
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