Football at the 1920 Summer Olympics

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Men's football
at the Games of the VII Olympiad
DateAugust 28–September 5
Competitors190 from 14 nations
1st, gold medalist(s) Belgium Belgium
2nd, silver medalist(s) Spain Spain
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Netherlands Netherlands
← 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 association football was on the Olympic schedule. The tournament was contested by 14 teams.

The final (and gold) was won by host Belgium against Czechoslovakia after the Czechs walked off to protest the officiating, and were subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

The silver medal went to Spain, while the Netherlands won the bronze medal.[1]


Antwerp Antwerp
Olympisch Stadion Stadion Broodstraat
Capacity: 35,000 Capacity: Not known
Olympisch Stadion Antwerp 2.jpg
Ghent Brussels
Jules Ottenstadion Stade Joseph Marien
Capacity: Not known Capacity: Not known
Gentbruggeottenstadion 16072009.jpg Stade Joseph Marien.JPG



Hosts and tournament winners Belgium before the final.

16 teams entered the competition, which was organized on a knockout basis, but Switzerland withdrew after the first round draw had been made, meaning France were given a first-round bye. 14 teams entered the first round, with the winners joining France in the quarter-finals, while Belgium received a first round forfeit after Poland failed to appear.

Norway defeated Great Britain in the first round, considered by Elo as one of the greatest football upsets of all time.[2] Czechoslovakia, participating in their first international tournament, survived to the final, inflicting defeats on Yugoslavia (who also played their first ever international match in the competition), Norway, and France. After the first round forfeit, Belgium beat Spain and the Netherlands on their way to the final.

The final ended with Belgium winning the gold medal by default after Czechoslovakia walked off during the final to protest the performance of the English referee, John Lewis.[3]

A form of the Bergvall System[4] was used to determine second and third places. Firstly, the beaten quarter-finalists played off, and Spain emerged triumphant, overcoming Sweden 2-1 and Italy 2-0.

Under the original format, Spain would then have played off with the three teams beaten in the main tournament by gold medalists Belgium, with the winners playing off for second and third, but since beaten finalists Czechoslovakia had been disqualified from the tournament and Belgium had received a first round forfeit after Poland failed to arrive, Spain advanced straight to a silver medal match against the Netherlands, who were beaten by Belgium in their semi-final. Spain won 3-1.


First round[edit]

Czechoslovakia 7–0 Kingdom of SCS
Vanik Goal 20'46'79'
Janda Goal 34'50'75'
Sedláček Goal 43'
Attendance: 600
Referee: Raphael Van Praag (BEL)

Spain 1–0 Denmark
Arabolaza Goal 54' Report
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Willem Eymers (NED)

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

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

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

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

Belgium were scheduled to play Poland, but Poland failed to arrive (due to the ongoing Polish–Soviet War); Belgium were awarded a 2-0 victory.

Bye: France


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'
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Josef Fanta (TCH)

Czechoslovakia 4–0 Norway
Vanik Goal 8'
Janda Goal 17'66'77'
Attendance: 4,000
Referee: Charles Barette (BEL)

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

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


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

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

Gold medal match[edit]

Belgian player Robert Coppée opens the scoring of the final, with a penalty kick against goalkeeper Rudolf Klapka

The final was highly controversial, and is the only time as of 2019 that an international final has been abandoned. Belgium were awarded the gold medal by default after Czechoslovakia walked off the field in the 40th minute to protest the officiating with the score 2-0 after Czech left-back Karel Steiner was ejected for assaulting Robert Coppée.

The Czechs 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 30th minute that Henri Larnoe had converted.

The Czechs immediately protested the result of the final[a], but their protest was dismissed, and the team were disqualified from the tournament.

Belgium 2–0 Czechoslovakia
Coppée Goal 6' (pen.)
Larnoe Goal 30'
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: John Lewis (GBR)

Silver and bronze medal tournament[edit]

First round[edit]

Italy 2–1 (After double extra time) Norway
Sardi Goal 46'
Badini Goal 123'
Report Andersen Goal 41'
Attendance: 500
Referee: Louis Fourgous (FRA)

Note: After 120 minutes expired with the score tied at 1-1, both captains and the referee agreed to play a second extra time of 2x10 minutes, meaning this match lasted 140 minutes.

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

Second round[edit]

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

Third round[edit]

This round was scratched and Spain advanced to the final against the Netherlands (beaten in the semi-finals by Belgium) as Czechoslovakia were disqualified after their walk off during the final, and Belgium had a forfeit in the first round after Poland failed to arrive (due to the ongoing Polish–Soviet War).

Silver and bronze medal match[edit]

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

Friendly match[edit]

This match was not part of the tournament, but was organised after both teams were eliminated. Some sources refer to this as an eighth place match or part of the silver and bronze medal tournament.

Egypt 4–2 Kingdom of SCS
Abaza Goal 43'??'
Allouba Goal ??'
Hegazi Goal ??'
Report Dubravčić Goal ??'
Ružić Goal ??'
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


Coach: Fred Warburton


  1. ^ 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 led by the soldiers and our national flag was insulted we will not participate until we have received an apology from the (Belgian) soldiers.[5]


  1. ^ "Football at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games". Sports Reference. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "VII. Olympiad Antwerp 1920 Football Tournament". Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2010-10-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^'1920%20Czechoslovakia%20football'

External links[edit]