Three Cubans defect before World Cup qualifier

Three members of Cuba's national team defected before a 2014 World Cup qualifying tournament in Canada this week.

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Three players had gone missing on Thursday in Toronto prior to their team's match against Canada a day later which the hosts won 3-0.

"FIFA can confirm that three players defected already last Thursday, leaving the Cuban team with 11 players in the squad for the qualifier against Canada," FIFA said in a statement.

There is a history of Cuban athletes defecting to pursue a potentially lucrative professional career outside communist-run Cuba. Seven members of Cuba's Olympic team defected in Florida in 2008 after a game against the United States.

In March, a Cuban player left his team while they were in Tennessee for an Olympic qualifying tournament.

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