USA opens Olympic qualifying against Dominican Republic

[DATEBOOK] The USA will play the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Mexico in the first round of the Concacaf Olympic Women's Qualifying tournament, which will be played Jan. 19-29 at the renovated BC Place in Vancouver.

The U.S. women, winners of the gold medal in 1996, 2004 and 2008, will open Group B play against the Dominican Republic on Jan. 20. They will play Guatemala two days later and conclude group play on Jan. 24.

Host Canada heads Group A, which also features Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti.

The group winners and runners-up will play in the all-important semifinals on Jan. 27. The two winners of those games will qualify for the London Olympics.

Nine teams have already qualified for the 12-team women's tournament: host Great Britain; Japan and North Korea from Asia; Cameroon and South Africa from Africa; Brazil and Colombia from South America; and Sweden and France from Europe. New Zealand will likely earn Oceania's lone berth, which leaves just the Concacaf entrants to be decided.

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