Japan has received a bye into the second round of qualifiers for the soccer tournament of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which features three qualifiers from Asia in addition to host China, Japanese soccer officials said Wednesday.
According to the qualifying schedule set by the Asian Football Confederation, the second round will have six four-nation groups and be played home and away between next Feb. 28 and June 6. The top two teams in each of the second-round groups will advance to the final round, from which the winners of each of three four-team groups qualify for the Beijing Olympics. The final round will be staged between Aug. 22 and Nov. 21 next year also on a home and away basis. The AFC has also decided that the first round of Asian qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup will be held between Feb. 6 and Nov. 19, 2008.
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