CONCACAF 2012 Olympic Qualifying: USA And Mexico Favorites To Qualify For London

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Condensation is seen on the London Olympic logo outside the Olympic Stadium on March 19, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The United States and Mexico are the favorites in CONCACAF qualifying to get the two spots in the 2012 London Olympics.

There are two trips to London up for grabs in CONCACAF 2012 Olympic Qualifying, which begins on Thursday. As is the case in every age group, the United States and Mexico are the favorites in the tournament and are expected to win the two spots to the London Olympics, but they still have to win the matches to get there. And considering this is a tournament for players under the age of 23, you never know what could happen.

Once the teams get to the Olympics, they can have three players over the age of 23 join the team, but for qualifying, only the underage players are eligible. Further complicating things: The tournament is not played on FIFA international dates, so club teams are not obligated to release players to compete in the qualification tournament, although many clubs have released players.

Format

The eight teams remaining in CONCACAF qualifying have been split into two groups. The United States, Canada, El Salvador and Cuba are in Group A, and their group stage matches will be played at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. Mexico, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago are in Group B, and their group stage matches will be played at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the championship round, which will be played at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The first-place team from Group A will play the second-place team in Group B, while the first-place team from Group B will play the second-place team from Group A in the semifinals. The winners will qualify for the Olympics and the the final, which has no real importance.

Schedule

Group A:

Thursday, March 22

El Salvador vs. Canada -- 6:30 p.m. ET

United States vs. Cuba -- 9 p.m. ET

Saturday, March 24

Cuba vs. El Salvador -- 4:30 p.m. ET

United States vs. Canada -- 7 p.m. ET

Monday, March 26

Canada vs. Cuba -- 6:30 p.m. ET

United States vs. El Salvador -- 9 p.m. ET

Group B:

Friday, March 23

Honduras vs. Panama -- 9 p.m. ET

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico -- 11:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, March 25

Panama vs. Trinidad and Tobago -- 4:30 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. Honduras -- 7 p.m. ET

Tuesday, March 27

Honduras vs. Trinidad and Tobago -- 9 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. Panama -- 11:30 p.m. ET

Semifinals

Saturday, March 31

Winner Group B vs. 2nd Group A -- 6 p.m. ET

Winner Group A vs. 2nd Group B -- 9 p.m. ET

Final

Monday, April 2

Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2 -- 8 p.m. ET

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