Football at the 1920 Summer Olympics

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Men's football
at the Games of the VII Olympiad
Football pictogram.svg
Venue Olympisch Stadion
Date August 28–September 5
Competitors 190 from 14 nations
Gold medal 
Silver medal 
Bronze medal 
«1912 1924»

The football at the 1920 Summer Olympics, was one of the 154 events at the 1920 Summer Olympics, held in Antwerp. It was the fifth time football (soccer) was on the Olympic schedule. The tournament was contested by 14 teams, with host country Belgium winning the gold medal. Spain won silver, while the Netherlands won the bronze medal.



Hosts and tournament winners Belgium before the final

14 teams entered the competition which was organized on a knockout basis. 12 teams entered the first round, with the 6 winners joining the host nation (Belgium) and France, in the quarter-finals.

Perhaps the most far-reaching of the results was that which saw Norway defeat Great Britain in the first round. The British delegation were concerned with the rise in 'professional' opponents within the international game. As Bernard Joy in Association Football (1960) was to write: "Out of pocket expenses were paid far in excess of the reimbursement for hotels and travelling. ... [Payments] for time lost from work, were made for playing and training, and teams were taken off for intense preparation together. Whatever the reason or excuse, thinly-veiled professionalism was rampant." Ironically Norway were not a professional side. The complaint was, however, clearly addressed at a growing trend within the game.

Czechoslovakia, participating in their first international tournament, cruised to the final, inflicting heavy defeats on Yugoslavia (who played their first ever international match in the competition), Norway, and France. Belgium beat a talented Spain and then the Netherlands on their way to the final. Belgium won the gold medal by default after Czechoslovakia walked off in protest during the final, unhappy with the performance of the English referee, John Lewis.[1] The Bergvall System[2] was used to determine second and third places. The beaten quarter-finalists played-off, Spain emerged triumphant overcoming Sweden 2-1 and Italy 2-0. Ordinarily, Spain would then have played the beaten finalists, but Czechoslovakia had been disqualified from the tournament. Spain thus advanced straight to the silver medal match against Holland, beaten in the semi-finals by gold medallists Belgium. Spain won 3-1.


First round[edit]

August 28, 1920
Czechoslovakia  7–0  Yugoslavia
Vanik Goal 20'46'79'
Janda Goal 34'50'75'
Sedláček Goal 43'
Stadion Broodstraat, Antwerp
Attendance: 600
Referee: Raphael Van Praag (BEL)

August 28, 1920
Spain  1–0  Denmark
Arabolaza Goal 54' Report
La Butte, Brussels
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Willem Eymers (NED)

August 28, 1920
Italy  2–1  Egypt
Baloncieri Goal 25'
Brezzi Goal 57'
Report Osman Goal 30'
Jules Ottenstadion, Ghent
Attendance: 2,000
Referee: Paul Putz (BEL)

August 28, 1920
Norway  3–1  Great Britain
Gundersen Goal 13'51'
Wilhelms Goal 63'
Report Nicholas Goal 25'
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Johannes Mutters (NED)

August 28, 1920
Netherlands  3–0  Luxembourg
J. Bulder Goal 30'
Groosjohan Goal 47'85'
La Butte, Brussels
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Georges Hubrecht (BEL)

August 28, 1920
Sweden  9–0  Greece
Olsson Goal 4'79'
Karlsson Goal 15'20'21'51'85'
Wicksell Goal 25'
Dahl Goal 31'
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Charles Barette (BEL)


August 29, 1920
Netherlands  5–4 (a.e.t.)  Sweden
Groosjohan Goal 10'57'
J. Bulder Goal 44'88' (pen.)
De Natris Goal 115'
Report Karlsson Goal 16'32'
Olsson Goal 20'
Dahl Goal 72'
Stadion Broodstraat, Antwerp
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Josef Fanta (TCH)

August 29, 1920
Czechoslovakia  4–0  Norway
Vanik Goal 8'
Janda Goal 17'66'77'
La Butte, Brussels
Attendance: 4,000
Referee: Charles Barette (BEL)

August 29, 1920
France  3–1  Italy
Boyer Goal 10'
Nicolas Goal 14'
Bard Goal 54'
Report Brezzi Goal 33' (pen.)
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Henri Christophe (BEL)

August 29, 1920
Belgium  3–1  Spain
Coppée Goal 11'52'55' Report Arrate Goal 62' (pen.)
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 18,000
Referee: Johannes Mutters (NED)


August 31, 1920
Czechoslovakia  4–1  France
Mazal Goal 18'75'87'
Steiner Goal 70'
Report Boyer Goal 79'
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Johannes Mutters (NED)

August 31, 1920
Belgium  3–0  Netherlands
Larnoe Goal 46'
Van Hege Goal 55'
Bragard Goal 85'
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: John Lewis (GBR)

Gold medal match[edit]

The final was highly controversial and remains the only occasion in which an international final has had to have been abandoned. Belgium was awarded the gold medal by default after Czechoslovakia walked off the field in the 40th minute of the final when Czech left-back Karel Steiner was ejected.

They were unhappy with the performance of the 65-year-old English referee, John Lewis, who had already refereed the Belgian semi-final victory over the Netherlands, a match observed by the Czechs (it had taken place on the same day and in the same stadium as their own victory against France), as well as the English linesmen, Charles Wreford-Brown and A. Knight, who had allowed a contentious second Belgian goal in the 28th minute that Henri Larnoe had converted.

The Czechs protested the result of the final. Their protests, translated from the original French, were as follows:

1. We were allocated an English linesman, which is in contradiction with the rules which state that each participating nation has the right to one of both linesman. This violation of the rules was prejudicial to us during the game, because the English linesman was not impartial and this is why we seek the cancellation of the match. Immediately after the game we brought this notice to the attention of M. Rodolphe Seeldrayers.

2. The majority of the decisions of the referee Mr. Lewis were wrong and it was obvious that it gave the public the wrong impression about our game. Also both Belgian goals were the result of incorrect decisions of the referee and we seek a rigorous investigation on that point.

3. During the match, Belgian soldiers were introduced to the crowd until they circled the pitch and because of their provocative presence our players were unable to play their normal game. As a result of the very regrettable incident at the end of the match when there was a pitch invasion lead by the soldiers and our national flag was insulted we will not participate until we have received an apology from the (Belgian) soldiers.[3]

Czechoslovakia's protests were dismissed, and they were disqualified from the tournament.

September 2, 1920
Belgium  2–0  Czechoslovakia
Coppée Goal 6' (pen.)
Larnoe Goal 30'
Not reported[4]
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: John Lewis (GBR)

Consolation round[edit]

Second place tournament first round[edit]

August 31, 1920
Italy  2–1  Norway
Sardi Goal 46'
Badini Goal 96'
Report Andersen Goal 41'
Stadion Broodstraat, Antwerp
Attendance: 500
Referee: Louis Fourgous (FRA)

September 1, 1920
Spain  2–1  Sweden
Belauste Goal 51'
Acedo Goal 53'
Report Dahl Goal 28'
Stadion Broodstraat, Antwerp
Attendance: 1,500
Referee: Giovanni Mauro (ITA)

Second place tournament second round[edit]

September 2, 1920
Spain  2–0  Italy
Sesúmaga Goal 43'72' Report
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Paul Putz (BEL)

Second place final[edit]

September 5, 1920
Spain  3–1  Netherlands
Sesúmaga Goal 7'35'
Pichichi Goal 72'
Report Groosjohan Goal 68'
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 14,000
Referee: Paul Putz (BEL)

Eighth-place match[edit]

September 2, 1920
Egypt  4–2  Yugoslavia
Abaza Goal ??'??'
Allouba Goal ??'
Hegazi Goal ??'
Report Dubravčić Goal ??'
Ružić Goal ??'
Olympic Stadium, Antwerp
Attendance: 500
Referee: Rafael van Praag (NED)


7 goals
6 goals
5 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal


Gold Silver Bronze

Coach: Raoul Daufresne


Coach: Francisco Bru


Final ranking[edit]

  1.  Belgium
  2.  Spain
  3.  Netherlands
  4.  Italy
  5.  France
  6.  Czechoslovakia
  7.  Norway
  8.  Sweden
  9.  Greece
  10.  Luxembourg
  11.  Great Britain
  12.  Egypt
  13.  Denmark
  14.  Yugoslavia


  1. ^ "VII. Olympiad Antwerp 1920 Football Tournament". Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^'1920%20Czechoslovakia%20football'
  4. ^ FIFA has not released the report of this game. On the official website it says that the game was abandoned and there is no official result. Follow the link: [1]

External links[edit]