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Cubans play Olympic soccer qualifier in US
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Cuba's Olympic soccer team traveled to United States city Tampa on Monday to compete in the final phase of Group A in the Concacaf Olympic qualifier, which offers two tickets to August's Olympic Games in Chinese capital Beijing.

The competition, which begins Tuesday, begins with eight teams divided into two groups of four. Cuba's first game is on Tuesday against the United States, one of the favorites. It will then face Honduras on Thursday and Panama on Saturday.

The teams are known as the under-23 because under Olympic rules only four of the total 23 selected players can be 23 or over.

Cuba won only one of the six friendly games it has used to train for the contest, beating Haiti 4-1. Haiti bounced back in the second game of that series, defeating Cuba 2-1. Cuba's other results were a 0-1 loss against a French police team, a 0-0 draw against Guatemala, and a 2-1 loss and a 0-0 draw against Guyana.

Cuba's soccer team has taken part in two Olympic Games: the 1976 edition in Montreal and the 1980 edition Moscow. Each time the team was a guest rather than a qualifier.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2008)

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