Football at the 2012 Summer Olympics
|Host country||United Kingdom|
|Dates||25 July – 11 August|
|Teams||28 (from 6 confederations)|
|Venue(s)||6 (in 6 host cities)|
|Champions|| Mexico (men)
United States (women)
|Runners-up|| Brazil (men)
|Third place|| South Korea (men)
|Fourth place|| Japan (men)
|Goals scored||146 (2.52 per match)|
|Attendance||2,186,150 (37,692 per match)|
|Football at the
2012 Summer Olympics
The association football tournament at the 2012 Summer Olympics was held from 25 July to 11 August, and was the only sport to begin before the official opening day of the Olympic Games, two days before the opening ceremony. It was also the only sport to be held at multiple venues outside London (the host city of the Olympics), with Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Coventry and Cardiff all hosting matches. The finals were played at Wembley Stadium. Associations affiliated with FIFA were invited to send their senior women's and men's under-23 national teams to participate; men's teams were allowed to augment their squads with three players over the age of 23. 504 football players competed for two sets of gold medals.
For these games, the men competed in a 16-team tournament and the women in a 12-team tournament. The draw for the tournament took place on 24 April 2012.
There are six stadiums that hosted matches: The stadiums represent London itself and South East England, the English Midlands, North West England and North East England in England, as well as Scotland and Wales.
|Wembley Stadium||Old Trafford|
|Capacity: 90,000||Capacity: 76,212|
|Millennium Stadium||St. James' Park|
|Capacity: 74,500||Capacity: 52,387|
|Hampden Park||City of Coventry Stadium|
|Capacity: 52,103||Capacity: 32,500|
Competition schedule 
|P||Preliminaries||¼||Quarterfinals||½||Semifinals||B||3rd place play-off||F||Final|
|Event↓/Date →||Wed 25||Thu 26||Fri 27||Sat 28||Sun 29||Mon 30||Tue 31||Wed 1||Thu 2||Fri 3||Sat 4||Sun 5||Mon 6||Tue 7||Wed 8||Thu 9||Fri 10||Sat 11|
Qualified nations 
Men's tournament 
|Means of qualification||Date of completion||Venue1||Berths||Qualified||Senior team
|Host nation||–||1||Great Britain||43|
|AFC Preliminary Competition||29 March 2012||Various (home and away)||3|| South Korea
United Arab Emirates
|CAF Preliminary Competition||10 December 2011||Morocco||3|| Gabon
|CONCACAF Preliminary Competition||2 April 2012||United States||2|| Mexico
|CONMEBOL Preliminary Competition||12 February 2011||Peru||2|| Brazil
|OFC Preliminary Competition||25 March 2012||New Zealand||1||New Zealand||95|
|UEFA Preliminary Competition||25 June 2011||Denmark||3|| Spain
|AFC–CAF play-off||23 April 2012||Great Britain||1||Senegal||61|
- ^1 Locations are those of final tournaments, various qualification stages may precede matches at these specific venues.
- ^2 Senior ranking shown for comparison only. This is an under-23 competition, which does not award ranking points for the FIFA World Rankings, neither takes it into consideration.
- ^3 England's ranking.
Women's tournament 
|Means of qualification||Date of completion||Venue1||Berths||Qualified||FIFA Ranking2|
|Host nation||–||1||Great Britain||92|
|AFC Preliminary Competition||11 September 2011||China||2|| Japan
|CAF Preliminary Competition||22 October 2011||–||2|| South Africa
|CONCACAF Preliminary Competition||29 January 2012||Canada||2|| United States
|CONMEBOL Preliminary Competition||21 November 2010||Ecuador||2|| Brazil
|OFC Preliminary Competition||4 April 2012||–||1||New Zealand||23|
|(UEFA) 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup||17 July 2011||Germany||2|| Sweden
United Kingdom/Great Britain teams 
A men's football team representing Great Britain competed in the Olympics until 1972, albeit failing to qualify for the main tournament after 1960. Great Britain did not enter a football team in the Olympics for the rest of the 1970s, plus the entire 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
On 24 August 2008, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested that the presence of a GB team at the 2012 games was "vital". He said that he had approached Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to coach such a team. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations opposed such a move in case it would affect their status within the governing body of football, FIFA.
On 29 May 2009, after last-ditch talks prompted by a FIFA deadline to settle the row, the four associations sent a letter to FIFA stating that while the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations would not participate in a unified UK men's or women's teams at the Olympic Games, they would not prevent England from fielding teams under that banner.
However, Britain's FIFA Vice-President Jim Boyce stated that Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy, Charlie Adam and other non-English players would have the legal right to be considered for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics. The deal among the four "home nations" was challenged by the British Olympic Association. Boyce said there was no legal restriction as to why a player from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland could be stopped from playing.
Ultimately, five Welsh players were included in the 2012 Great Britain Olympic football squad, with Ryan Giggs – included as one of the three players over the age of 23 permitted – selected as team captain. Giggs would score during the tournament, in a 3–1 defeat of the United Arab Emirates at Wembley. None of the Great Britain men's football squad come from Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Tie breakers 
This tournament differs from other modern major international football tournaments, in that head-to-head records is not the primary way to break ties.
The ranking of the teams in each group shall be determined as follows:
- greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
- goal difference in all group matches;
- greatest number of goals scored in all group matches;
- greatest number of points obtained in all group matches between the teams concerned;
- goal difference resulting from all group matches between the teams concerned;
- greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
- drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.
Medal summary 
Medal table 
Men's tournament 
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
Squad restrictions 
The same restrictions used for recent Olympiads are applied, in which each squad is to consist of eighteen players, of which no more than three may be over the age of 23 before the beginning of the next year. In the case of the 2012 Summer Olympics, this restricts players born before 1 January 1989.
Women's tournament 
|Group E||Group F||Group G|
Squad restrictions 
There were no age restrictions in the women's tournament.
Iran's women's team and three Jordanian players were banned at the second round of the Asian qualification tournament due to not adhering to FIFA dress code; the players were allowed to play while covering their head in the first round. FIFA banned the hijab in 2007, although FIFA now allows the hijab to be worn after overturning the 2007 decision in 2012.
Following the South Korean flag being put on display on the stadium screen at Hampden Park when the teams were being announced before the Colombia versus North Korea women's match, the North Korea team protested against this action by refusing to take to the pitch. As a result of the wrong flag being displayed, the kick-off was delayed.
Japanese women's coach Norio Sasaki admitted to instructing his team to purposely attempt a tie against South Africa in group play in order to acquire a more favorable position in the quarterfinals, which would require less traveling for the Japanese squad. Neither FIFA nor the IOC took any action in response.
In the 78th minute of the women's semi-final between Canada and the United States, referee Christina Pedersen awarded an indirect free kick to the United States after Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod kept possession of the ball in her hands for more than six seconds – a violation of Law 12. Although the decision was correct, according to a literal reading of the Law, it is extremely rare for the offence to be punished. From the ensuing indirect free kick, Pedersen awarded a penalty kick to the United States when she deemed that a Canadian defender deliberately handled the ball. Abby Wambach scored from the penalty kick, tying the match at 3–3, before the United States scored again in extra time to win 4–3. The Canadian team protested the call in media outlets afterwards; FIFA is investigating the situation but indicated that any disciplinary action would be postponed until after Canada's bronze medal match.
See also 
- "Football". London2012.com. London 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
- "GB Olympic football teams to play in Manchester, London and Cardiff". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 10 November 2011.
- "Sports & venues: Football stadia, UK-wide". London 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- "AFC slots for Olympics approved". Asian Football Confederation.
- "CONCACAF to seek additional World Cup berth". CONCACAF. 16 January 2011.
- "Play-off details confirmed". FIFA. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "China to host women's Olympic qualifiers". Asian Football Confederation. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
- "Fixture change in Africa". FIFA.com. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "Canada granted 2012 Olympic Qualifiers". CanadaSoccer.com. Canadian Soccer Association.
- "Brown pays tribute to GB success". BBC Sport. 24 August 2008.
- "England to go solo with 2012 Olympic team?". ESPNsoccernet. 29 May 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "Torneos olímpicos de fútbol – Londres 2012" [Full fixture Olympic football tournaments – London 2012] (in Spanish). International football journalism. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- "London 2012 Olympics: Gareth Bale and non-English players have 'legal right' to play for Team GB". The Daily Telegraph. 24 March 2011.
- "Welsh stars Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy dismiss Olympic fears". BBC Sport. 9 July 2012.
- Fletcher, Paul (29 July 2012). "Olympics football: Ryan Giggs inspires GB win over UAE". BBC Sport.
- Regulations of the Olympic Football Tournaments London 2012 (FIFA) Chapter VII, Articles 25 & 29, Paragraph 5 (p. 37 & 40).
- Regulations of the Olympic Football Tournaments London 2012 (FIFA) Chapter III, Article 8, paragraph 3 (p. 15).
- Regulations of the Olympic Football Tournaments London 2012 (FIFA) Chapter III, Article 8, paragraph 4 (p. 15).
- Shantyei, Sanam (6 June 2011). "Iran women's Olympic dream crushed by dress code ruling". Arab News.
- Singh, Vijai (3 March 2012). "Headscarves for Women’s Games Near Approval". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Hijabs approved for soccer players by FIFA". CBC News. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Bowater, Donna (25 July 2012). "London 2012 Olympics: North Korea women footballers protest over flag gaffe". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- David Ebner James Christie. "Badminton scandal is a reminder of sport’s dark thread: cheating". The Globe and Mail.
- "London Olympics badminton scandal raises ethical issues –". Usatoday.com. 8 January 2012.
- "Algerian Olympic runner reinstated for 1,500 final - Track & Field News". NBC Olympics.
- Johnson, George (6 August 2012). "Canada loses a heartbreaker to U.S. in Olympic soccer semi-final". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- "FIFA may discipline Canadian players, coach over ref remarks". CBC Sports. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
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