The United States will begin the defence of their Olympic title against Costa Rica ©Getty Images

Olympic champions the United States will begin their bid to qualify for this year's Games in Rio de Janeiro with a clash on home soil against Costa Rica tomorrow.

The US beat Japan 2-1 at Wembley Stadium to win the gold medal at London 2012, and are looking to earn one of two places available at Rio 2016 through the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Olympic qualifying tournament which they are hosting.

Both teams who reach the final will seal their spot in Brazil, with eight countries involved in all, initially in two groups of four.

The Americans' clash with Costa Rica at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, is one of two opening day games in Group A, with Puerto Rico meeting Mexico at the same venue.

Group B will get underway on February 11 with London 2012 bronze medallists Canada meeting Guyana at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.

The same stadium will also play host to Guatemala's clash with Trinidad and Tobago.

The top two teams will make it through to the semi-finals, where Rio berths will be on the line as well as a place in the final.

Houston will host the showpiece match on February 21.

London 2012 bronze medallists Canada will also be confident of progression
London 2012 bronze medallists Canada will also be confident of progression ©Getty Images

It will be a big surprise if the US, who are also the world champions, fail to progress, while the Canadians, beaten 4-3 by their near neighbours in the semi-finals in London after extra time, will also be confident of progression after reaching the quarter-finals of their home World Cup last year.

Hosts Brazil are guaranteed a place in the women's football tournament at the Olympics, which will take place across the country.

Copa America winners Colombia are also secured of a spot, alongside France and Germany who won European places available at the World Cup.

South Africa and Zimbabwe have qualified through Africa's tournament, while New Zealand will be Oceania's representative.

Two more places will be available through the Asian Qualification tournament in Japan, which runs from February 29 to March 9, and the final spot will then be decided at the European tournament in The Netherlands in March.

The football tournament will run from August 3 to August 19.