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WBC Pools and schedule finalized

The full tournament schedule for the 2013 World Baseball Classic was finalized on Monday, as were the final pool compositions which include Qualifier winners Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei and Spain.

The tournament will kick off on Saturday, March 2 in Fukuoka, Japan and Taichung, Taiwan.

Pool A, which will be played at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome from March 2-6, will include the countries of Brazil, China, Cuba and Japan. The opening game will feature two-time defending champion Japan against WBC newcomer and Qualifier Round victor Brazil

Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea and the Netherlands comprise Pool B and will play at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung,

Pool C will be played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico and will feature the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela

The United States will be part of Pool D and compete at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick from March 7-10, with Italy, Mexico and Canada also included in that division.

The First Round will return to a round-robin format with the top two teams at each venue advancing to one of two Second Round pools. The Second Round, which will be a modified double-elimination format, will be played at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan and Marlins Park in Miami, Florida.

Pool 1 at the Tokyo Dome, from March 8-12, will feature the winners and runners-up from Pools A and B, while Pool 2 at Marlins Park, from March 12-16 will host the winners and runners-up from Pools C and D.

The winners and runners-up from each of the Second Round pools will advance to the Championship Round at AT&T Park in San Francisco from March 17-19.