Football at the Summer Olympics

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Football at the Summer Olympics
Football pictogram.svg
IOC Discipline CodeFBL
Governing bodyFIFA
Events2 (men: 1; women: 1)
Games

Tournaments (menwomen)

Football at the Summer Olympics, referred to as the Olympic Football Tournament,[note 1] has been included in every Summer Olympic Games as a men's competition sport, except 1896 (the inaugural Games) and 1932 (in an attempt to promote the new FIFA World Cup tournament). Women's football was added to the official program at the Atlanta 1996 Games.[1]

So as to avoid competition with the World Cup, FIFA have restricted participation of elite players in the men's tournament in various ways. Currently squads for the men's tournament are required to be composed of players under 23 years of age, with three permitted exceptions. By comparison, the women's football tournament is a senior-level international tournament, second in prestige only to the FIFA Women's World Cup.[2][3]

History[edit]

Pre-World Cup era[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Football was not included in the program at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, as international football was in its infancy at the time. However, sources claim that an unofficial football tournament was organised during the first competition, with participating teams including Athens and Smyrna (Izmir), then part of the Ottoman Empire.[4] According to Bill Mallon's research, this is an error which has been perpetuated in multiple texts.[5]

Tournaments were played at the 1900 and 1904 games and the Intercalated Games of 1906, but these were contested by various clubs and scratch teams.[4] Although the IOC considers the 1900 and 1904 tournaments to be official Olympic events, they are not recognised by FIFA, and neither recognises the Intercalated Games today. In 1906 teams from Great Britain, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and France withdrew from an unofficial competition and left Denmark, Smyrna (one Armenian, two Frenchmen and eight Britons), Athens and Thessaloniki to compete. Denmark won the final against Athens 9–0.

British successes[edit]

In the London Games of 1908 a proper international tournament was organised by the Football Association, featuring just six teams. The number of teams rose to eleven in 1912, when the competition was organised by the Swedish Football Association. Many of these early matches were unbalanced, as evidenced by high scoring games; two players, Sophus Nielsen in 1908 and Gottfried Fuchs in 1912, each scored ten goals in a single match. All players were amateurs, in accordance with the Olympic rules, which meant that countries could not send their full senior national teams. The National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Ireland asked the Football Association to send an English national amateur team. Some of the English members played with professional clubs, most notably Derby County's Ivan Sharpe, Bradford City F.C. Harold Walden and Chelsea's Vivian Woodward. England won the first two official tournaments convincingly, beating Denmark both times.

1920s and the rise of Uruguay[edit]

The Uruguay national football team that won the 1928 Olympic tournament

During the 1920 final against Belgium, the Czechoslovakia national football team walked off the field to protest the refereeing of John Lewis[6] and the militarised mood within the stadium in Antwerp. This would be the final all-European football competition at the Olympic games, with Egypt, the United States, and Uruguay participating in 1924.[6] With teams from new regions the quality of play increased, as did fan interest.[6] Uruguay dominated the tournament, winning their four games by a combined score of 15-1: the final was a 3–0 victory over Switzerland.[6] In 1928, football was the most popular event at the games[7] and the final was an all-South American affair. Because no other major international tournament existed yet, Uruguay defeated Argentina 2–1 in what David Goldblatt says was "football's first world championship".[8] After these tournaments, FIFA realized that the Olympic movement prevented nations from competing on an equal footing and, given that the Olympics only permitted amateurs to participate, did not represent the true strength of the international game. The popularity of international soccer gave FIFA the inventive to create an international tournament, and FIFA began organising the World Cup.[7]

After the first World Cup[edit]

Tumultuous '30s[edit]

Following Jules Rimet's proposal in 1929 to initiate a professional World Championship of Football, the sport was dropped from the 1932 Los Angeles Games by FIFA in an attempt to promote the new tournament. Football returned to controversy at the 1936 Berlin Games. The German organisers were intent on the return of the game to the Olympic movement since it guaranteed income into the organisation's coffers. The Italian team intimidated a referee. Peru scored a contested victory over Austria in overtime, with a fan invasion of the field at the very end. The Austrian team asked for the result to be annulled, and the game repeated. FIFA agreed, but the Peruvian team refused and left the Olympics.[9][10]

Soviet Bloc dominance amid amateurism controversy[edit]

As professionalism spread around the world, the gap in quality between the World Cup and the Olympics widened. The countries that benefited most were the Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern Europe, where top athletes were state-sponsored while retaining their status as amateurs. As a result, young Western amateurs had to face seasoned and veteran Soviet Bloc teams, which put them at a significant disadvantage. All Olympic football tournaments from 1948 to 1980 were dominated by the Soviet Union and its satellites.[11] Between 1948 and 1988, 25 out of 34 Olympic medals were won by Eastern Europe, with only Sweden (gold in 1948 and bronze in 1952), Denmark (bronze in 1948 and silver in 1960) and Japan (bronze in 1968) breaking their dominance, the last two of these seeing some changes due to FIFA's changing of the call-up rules, with only Yugoslavia (bronze in 1984) and the Soviet Union (gold in 1988) winning medals for the Eastern Bloc.

Changes and developments[edit]

For the 1984 Los Angeles Games, the IOC decided to admit professional players. FIFA still did not want the Olympics to rival the World Cup, so a compromise was struck that allowed teams from countries outside of UEFA and CONMEBOL to field their strongest sides, while restricting UEFA and CONMEBOL (the strongest confederations whose teams played all finals and won every single World Cup title) countries to players who had not played in a World Cup. The 1984 rules were maintained also for the 1988 edition, but with an additional paragraph: those European and South American footballers who had previously played less than 90 minutes in one single match of the World Cup, were eligible.[12]

1992–present: Age restrictions introduced[edit]

Since 1992 male competitors have been required to be under 23 years old; since 1996, a maximum of three over-23-year-old players have been allowed per squad.[note 2] African countries have taken particular advantage of this, with Nigeria and Cameroon winning in 1996 and 2000 respectively.

Because of the unusual format and the separation from the main national teams that play the World Cup and top continental tournaments, historically strong men's national teams have unimpressive Olympic records. Uruguay, who won the two tournaments prior to the World Cup's creation, only qualified again in 2012, after an 84-year absence. Argentina won silver twice (1928 and 1996) before the 2004 tournament, but its appearance in Athens 2004, in which it won the first gold medal, was only their seventh overall. Brazil's silver medals in the 1984, 1988 and 2012 editions were the best they had achieved until 2016's gold. Italy has only won the Olympic title once, in 1936, although along with the two bronzes, the team has the highest number of appearances in the tournament, with 15, the last in 2008. France won the Olympic title in 1984, but only qualified twice ever since. Germany's best result (before 2016 edition) was a single bronze medal, in 1988 as West Germany, and the reunified team did not make an Olympic appearance until 2016, when they won silver. Spain has won the gold medal as hosts in 1992, and followed it with two silver medals (in 2000 and 2020, having also gotten a third in 1920), along with a few failures to qualify.

British non-involvement[edit]

Football in the United Kingdom has no single governing body, and there are separate teams for the UK's four Home Nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Only the English Football Association (FA) is affiliated to the British Olympic Association (BOA), and the FA entered "Great Britain" teams to the football tournaments until 1972. In 1974, the FA abolished the distinction between "amateur" and "professional" football, and stopped entering the Olympics. Even though FIFA has allowed professionals at the Olympics since 1984, the FA did not re-enter, as the Home Nations feared that a united British Olympic team would set a precedent that might cause FIFA to question their separate status in other FIFA competitions and on the International Football Association Board.[14][15]

When London was selected to host the 2012 Games, there was pressure on the English FA to exercise the host nation's automatic right to field a team.[16] In 2009 the plan agreed by the FA with the Welsh FA, Scottish FA and Irish FA was only to field English players;[17] however the BOA overruled this,[18] and ultimately there were Welsh players in the men's squad and Scots in the women's squad.[19] After the 2012 games, the FA decided that no team would be entered in subsequent men's tournaments, but was open to fielding a women's team again.[20]

For the 2020 tournament, FIFA stated that women's UK team (not applied to men's UK team) may enter the Olympics after the four FAs agreed, depending on the performance of women's English team in 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup (which serves as the European qualification for the Olympics).[21][22]

Venues[edit]

Due to the number of large stadia required for the Olympic tournament, venues in distant cities – often more than 200 km (120 mi) away from the main host – are typically used for the football tournament. In an extreme example, two early-round venues for the 1984 Games were on the East Coast of the United States, well over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from the host city of Los Angeles. The next Games held in the United States, the 1996 Games, were unique in that no matches were held in the host city of Atlanta; the nearest venue and the site of the finals was 65 miles (105 km) away on the University of Georgia campus in Athens. Counting the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, there are 127 venues that have hosted Olympic football, the most of any sport.

Edition of the Olympic Games City Stadium
Greece Athens 1896 No official football tournament
France Paris 1900 Paris Vincennes Velodrome
United States St. Louis 1904 St. Louis Francis Field
United Kingdom London 1908 London White City Stadium
Sweden Stockholm 1912 Stockholm Stockholm Olympic Stadium
Råsunda Stadium
Tranebergs Idrottsplats
Belgium Antwerp 1920 Antwerp Olympic Stadium
Stadion Broodstraat
Brussels Stade de l'Union St. Gilloise
Ghent Stade d'A.A. La Gantoise
France Paris 1924 Paris Stade Olympique, Colombes
Stade Bergeyre
Stade de Paris, Saint-Ouen
Stade Pershing, Vincennes
Netherlands Amsterdam 1928 Amsterdam Olympisch Stadion
Harry Elte Stadium
United States Los Angeles 1932 No football tournament
Germany Berlin 1936 Berlin Olympiastadion
Poststadion, Tiergarten
Mommsenstadion, Charlottenburg
Hertha-BSC-Platz
United Kingdom London 1948 London Empire Stadium, Wembley
White Hart Lane, Tottenham
Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace
Craven Cottage, Fulham
Griffin Park, Brentford
Arsenal Stadium, Highbury
Lynn Road, Ilford
Green Pond Road, Walthamstow
Champion Hill, Dulwich
Brighton Goldstone Ground
Portsmouth Fratton Park
Finland Helsinki 1952 Helsinki Olympiastadion
Töölö Football Grounds
Turku Kupittaa Stadium
Tampere Ratina Stadium
Lahti Kisapuisto
Kotka Kotka Stadium
Australia Melbourne 1956 Melbourne Melbourne Cricket Ground
Olympic Park Stadium
Italy Rome 1960 Rome Flaminio Stadium
Florence Stadio Comunale
Grosseto Stadio Comunale
Livorno Stadio Ardenza
Pescara Stadio Adriatico
L'Aquila Stadio Comunale
Naples Stadio Fuorigrotta
Japan Tokyo 1964 Tokyo National Olympic Stadium
Prince Chichibu Memorial Field
Komazawa Stadium
Ōmiya Omiya Soccer Stadium
Yokohama Mitsuzawa Football Stadium
Mexico Mexico City 1968 Mexico City Azteca Stadium
Puebla Estadio Cuauhtémoc
Guadalajara Estadio Jalisco
León Estadio León
West Germany Munich 1972 Munich Olympiastadion
Augsburg Rosenaustadion
Ingolstadt ESV-Stadion
Regensburg Jahn Stadium
Nuremberg Städtisches Stadium
Passau Drei Flüsse Stadion
Canada Montreal 1976 Montreal Olympic Stadium
Sherbrooke Municipal Stadium
Toronto Varsity Stadium
Ottawa Lansdowne Stadium
Soviet Union Moscow 1980 Moscow Grand Central Lenin Stadium
Dynamo Stadium
Leningrad Kirov Stadium
Kyiv Republican Stadium
Minsk Dinamo Stadium
United States Los Angeles 1984 Pasadena, California Rose Bowl
Boston Harvard Stadium
Annapolis, Maryland Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Stanford, California Stanford Stadium
South Korea Seoul 1988 Seoul Olympic Stadium
Dongdaemun Stadium
Busan Busan Stadium
Daegu Daegu Stadium
Daejeon Daejeon Stadium
Gwangju Gwangju Stadium
Spain Barcelona 1992 Barcelona Camp Nou
Estadi de Sarrià
Sabadell Estadi de la Nova Creu Alta
Zaragoza Estadio La Romareda
Valencia Estadio Luis Casanova
United States Atlanta 1996 Athens, Georgia Sanford Stadium
Orlando, Florida Citrus Bowl
Birmingham, Alabama Legion Field
Miami, Florida Miami Orange Bowl
Washington, D.C. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
Australia Sydney 2000 Sydney Olympic Stadium
Sydney Football Stadium
Brisbane Brisbane Cricket Ground
Adelaide Hindmarsh Stadium
Canberra Bruce Stadium
Melbourne Melbourne Cricket Ground
Greece Athens 2004 Marousi Olympic Stadium
Piraeus Karaiskakis Stadium
Patras Pampeloponnisiako Stadium
Volos Panthessaliko Stadium
Thessaloniki Kaftanzoglio Stadium
Heraklion Pankritio Stadium
China Beijing 2008 Beijing National Stadium
Workers' Stadium
Tianjin Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium
Shanghai Shanghai Stadium
Qinhuangdao Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium
Shenyang Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium
United Kingdom London 2012 London Wembley Stadium
Glasgow Hampden Park
Cardiff Millennium Stadium
Coventry City of Coventry Stadium[note 3]
Manchester Old Trafford
Newcastle upon Tyne St James' Park[note 3]
Brazil Rio 2016 Rio de Janeiro Maracanã
João Havelange Olympic Stadium
São Paulo Arena Corinthians
Brasília Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha
Salvador Arena Fonte Nova[note 4]
Belo Horizonte Estádio Mineirão
Manaus Arena da Amazônia
Japan Tokyo 2020
Tokyo Tokyo Stadium[note 5]
Yokohama International Stadium Yokohama[note 5]
Kashima Kashima Soccer Stadium
Saitama Saitama Stadium 2002
Rifu Miyagi Stadium
Sapporo Sapporo Dome

Events[edit]

Event 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
Men's event X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 28
Women's event X X X X X X X X 8
Total 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

Competition format[edit]

For both the men's and women's tournaments, the competition consists of a round-robin group stage followed by a knockout stage. Teams are placed into groups of 4 teams, with each team playing each other team in its group once. Teams earn 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. The top two teams in each group (as well as the top two third-place finishers, in the women's tournament) advance to the knockout rounds. The knockout rounds are a single-elimination tournament consisting of quarterfinals, semifinals, and the gold and bronze medal matches.

Matches consist of two halves of 45 minutes each. Since 2004, during the knockout rounds, if the match is tied after 90 minutes, two 15-minute halves of extra time are played (extra time is skipped in favour of immediate penalty kicks in the bronze medal match if it is played on the same day in the same stadium as the gold medal match). If the score remains tied, penalty kicks, which is 5 rounds, plus extra rounds if tied, are used to determine the winner.[23]

The qualifying tournament, like that for the World Cup, is organised along continental lines. Most continental confederations organise a special Under-23 qualifying tournament, although the European qualifiers are drawn from the finalists of the UEFA Under-21 Championship. Teams participating in the preliminary and final competitions must be composed of U-23 players, with up to three players who are at least 23. For Tokyo 2020, U-23 players are born after 1 January 1997.[note 2][24]

For the 2024 Games, the number of places allocated to each continent is:

Men's tournament[edit]

Men's Olympic Football Tournament
Organising bodyIOC
FIFA
Founded1900[25]
RegionInternational
Number of teams16 (finals)
(from 6 confederations)
Current champions Brazil
(2nd title)
Most successful team(s) Great Britain
 Hungary
(3 titles each)
2024 Summer Olympics

Participating nations[edit]

Numbers refer to the final placing of each team at the respective Games. Host nation is shown in bold.

UEFA
Nation 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Austria 6 2 11 5 4
 Belarus 10 1
 Belgium 3 1 15 5 4 5
 Bulgaria 10 17 3 5 2 5
 Czech Republic 14 1
 Czechoslovakia 9 9 2 9 1 WD Split into Slovakia and Czech Republic 5
 Denmark 2 2 10 3 5 2 6 13 8 9
 East Germany[26] WD 3 3 1 2 WD Merged with West Germany 4
 Estonia 17 1
 Finland 4 9 14 9 4
 France 2 5 4 5 9 5 17 9 7 5 1 5 13 Q 14
 Germany[27] 7 5 5 4 9 5 5 3 2 9 10
 Great Britain 1 1 1 11 5 4 17 5 8 5 10
 Greece 13 17 15 3
 Hungary 5 13 9 1 WD 3 1 1 2 16 9
 Ireland 7 17 2
 Israel Competed with Asia (qualified 2 times) 2
 Italy 8 5 6 3 1 5 9 4 DSQ 4 4 5 12 5 3 5 15
 Latvia 16 1
 Lithuania 17 1
 Luxembourg 12 11 9 9 9 9 6
 Netherlands 3 3 3 4 9 9 17 7 8
 Norway 9 7 3 14 10 5
 Poland 17 4 9 10 1 2 2 7
 Portugal 5 4 14 6 4
 Romania 14 17 5 11 4
 Russia 10 Unified into 15 nations as Soviet Union 1
 Serbia 12 1
 Serbia and Montenegro 16 Split into 2 nations 1
 Slovakia 13 1
 Soviet Union As Russian Empire 9 1 3 3 3 WD 1 Split into 15 nations 6
 Spain 2 17 5 6 12 10 1 6 2 14 2 11
 Sweden 4 11 6 3 9 1 3 6 6 15 10
 Switzerland 2 9 13 3
 Turkey 17 9 9 5 5 WD 14 6
 Yugoslavia 9 17 9 2 2 2 1 6 4 3 10 Split into 7 nations 11
CONMEBOL
Nation 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Argentina 2 7 10 WD 8 2 1 1 11 10 9
 Brazil 5 6 9 13 13 4 2 2 3 7 3 2 1 1 14
 Chile 17 17 7 3 4
 Colombia 10 11 11 14 6 5
 Paraguay 7 2 2
 Peru 5 11 2
 Uruguay 1 1 WD 9 3
 Venezuela 12 1
CONCACAF
Nation 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Canada 1 13 6 3
 Costa Rica 16 13 8 3
 Cuba 11 7 2
 Dominican Republic Q 1
 El Salvador 15 1
 Guatemala 8 10 16 3
 Honduras 10 16 7 4 14 5
 Mexico 9 11 11 4 7 9 DSQ 10 7 10 1 9 3 12
 Netherlands Antilles 14 Split into 2 nations 1
 United States 2[28] 3 12 9 9 11 17 5 14 WD 9 12 9 10 4 9 Q 15
CAF
Nation 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Algeria 8 14 2
 Cameroon 11 1 8 3
 Egypt 8 8 4 9 11 9 WD 12 4 WD 8 12 8 8 12
 Ivory Coast 6 7 2
 Gabon 12 1
 Ghana 7 12 16 WD WD 3 8 9 6
 Guinea 11 1
 Mali 5 1
 Morocco 13 WD 8 12 15 16 10 11 7
 Nigeria 14 WD 13 15 1 8 2 3 7
 Senegal 6 1
 South Africa 11 13 16 3
 Sudan 15 1
 Tunisia 15 13 14 12 4
 Zambia WD 15 5 2
AFC
Nation 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Afghanistan 17 1
 Australia Competed with Oceania (qualified 6 times) 11 12 2
 China 9 11 WD 14 13 4
 Chinese Taipei 16 1
 India 11 17 4 13 4
 Indonesia 5 1
 Iran 12 12 7 WD 3
 Iraq 5 14 9 4 12 5
 Israel 5 6 Competed with Europe 2
 Japan 5 9 8 3 9 6 13 15 4 10 4 11
 Kuwait 6 16 12 3
 Malaysia 10 WD 1
 Myanmar 9 1
 North Korea WD 8 1
 Qatar 15 8 2
 Saudi Arabia 16 15 15 3
 South Korea 5 14 11 11 11 9 6 10 3 5 5 11
 Syria 14 1
 Thailand 9 16 2
 United Arab Emirates 15 1
OFC
Nation 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Australia 5 7 4 13 15 7 AFC (qualified 2 times) 6
 Fiji 16 1
 New Zealand 14 16 6 3
Total nations 3 2 5 11 14 22 17 16 18 25 11 16 14 16 16 13 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16

Results[edit]

Rules
  • 1896–1904: club teams [29][30][31][32]
  • 1908–1980: amateur national teams [n 1][n 2]
  • 1984–1988: professional national teams (excepting UEFA and Conmebol)[33]
  • 1992: u-23 national teams [32][33]
  • 1996–present: u-23 national teams (with three 'no age limit' players allowed, after an agreement between FIFA and OIC)[32][33]
Keys
  •   Contested by club teams instead of propper national squads
  •   Playoff match after the final ended in a tie
Ed. Year Host Gold medal match Bronze medal match Num.
teams
1st place, gold medalist(s) Gold medal Score 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Silver medal 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Bronze medal Score Fourth place
[n 3] 1896 Athens Denmark Denmark [n 4] Greece Greece [n 6]
[n 7]
[n 7]
[n 7]
2
1 [n 8] 1900 Paris United Kingdom Great Britain [n 9]
[n 10]
France France [n 11] Belgium Belgium [n 12]
[n 10]
[n 13]
3
2 [n 8] 1904 St. Louis Canada Canada [n 14]
[n 10]
United States United States [n 15] United States United States [n 16]
[n 10]
[n 13]
3
3 1908 London  Great Britain
2–0
 Denmark  Netherlands
2–0
 Sweden
6
4 1912 Stockholm  Great Britain
4–2
 Denmark  Netherlands
9–0
 Finland
11
5 1920 Antwerp  Belgium
[n 17]
 Spain  Netherlands
[n 17]
 France
15
6 1924 Paris  Uruguay
3–0
  Switzerland  Sweden
1–1 (a.e.t.)
 Netherlands
22
3–1
7 1928 Amsterdam  Uruguay
1–1 (a.e.t.)
 Argentina  Italy
11–3
 Egypt
17
2–1
1932 Los Angeles
(No tournament held)
8 1936 Berlin  Italy
2–1 (a.e.t.)
 Austria  Norway
3–2
 Poland
16
9 1948 London  Sweden
3–1
 Yugoslavia  Denmark
5–3
 Great Britain
18
10 1952 Helsinki  Hungary
2–0
 Yugoslavia  Sweden
2–0
 Germany
25
11 1956 Melbourne  Soviet Union
1–0
 Yugoslavia  Bulgaria
3–0
 India
11
12 1960 Rome  Yugoslavia
3–1
 Denmark  Hungary
2–1
 Italy
16
13 1964 Tokyo  Hungary
2–1
 Czechoslovakia  Germany [26]
3–1
 United Arab
14
14 1968 Mexico City  Hungary
4–1
 Bulgaria  Japan
2–0
 Mexico
16
15 1972 Munich  Poland
2–1
 Hungary  East Germany
 Soviet Union
2–2 (a.e.t.)
[n 18]
16
16 1976 Montreal  East Germany
3–1
 Poland  Soviet Union
2–0
 Brazil
13
17 1980 Moscow  Czechoslovakia
1–0
 East Germany  Soviet Union
2–0
 Yugoslavia
16
18 1984 Los Angeles  France
2–0
 Brazil  Yugoslavia
2–1
 Italy
16
19 1988 Seoul  Soviet Union
2–1 (a.e.t.)
 Brazil  Germany
3–0
 Italy
16
20 1992 Barcelona  Spain
3–2
 Poland  Ghana
1–0
 Australia
16
21 1996 Atlanta  Nigeria
3–2
 Argentina  Brazil
5–0
 Portugal
16
22 2000 Sydney  Cameroon
2–2 (5–3 p)
 Spain  Chile
2–0
 United States
16
23 2004 Athens  Argentina
1–0
 Paraguay  Italy
1–0
 Iraq
16
24 2008 Beijing  Argentina
1–0
 Nigeria  Brazil
3–0
 Belgium
16
25 2012 London  Mexico
2–1
 Brazil  South Korea
2–0
 Japan
16
26 2016 Rio de Janeiro  Brazil
1–1 (5–4 p)
 Germany  Nigeria
3–2
 Honduras
16
27 2020 Tokyo  Brazil
2–1 (a.e.t.)
 Spain  Mexico
3–1
 Japan
16
28 2024 Paris TBD TBD TBD TBD
Notes
  1. ^ the 1924 and 1928 editions were co-organised by FIFA)[31][33]
  2. ^ Countries from Eastern Europe competed with professional players.[33]
  3. ^ This tournament was part of the unofficial programme, or as a "demonstration sport" during the 1896 Olympic Games
  4. ^ Combined team of players from Københavns Roklub and Østerbros Boldklub.
  5. ^ The exact score is still unknown, it varies from 9–0 to 15–0.
  6. ^ Represented by the S.C. Athinaikos Athlitikos Syllogos.
  7. ^ a b c Only two teams participated in the tournament.
  8. ^ a b This tournament was originally a pair of demonstration matches between the three teams, but has subsequently been upgraded to official status by the IOC with medals attributed to the teams based upon the match results.
  9. ^ Represented by the Upton Park F.C..
  10. ^ a b c d Not final held so it was played under a round-robin format.
  11. ^ Represented by the Club Français.
  12. ^ Represented by the University of Brussels.
  13. ^ a b Only three teams participated in the competition.
  14. ^ Represented by the Galt F.C..
  15. ^ Represented by the Christian Brothers College.
  16. ^ Represented by the St. Rose Parish.
  17. ^ a b In 1920, Czechoslovakia abandoned the final match against Belgium after 40 minutes with the latter up 2–0. They were disqualified, and a mini-tournament to figure out the other medalists was held, with Spain beating the Netherlands for second place 3–1.
  18. ^ Bronze medal shared.

Performances by countries[edit]

Below are the 41 nations that have reached at least the semi-final stage in the Summer Olympics finals.

Team Gold medals Silver medals Bronze medals Fourth place Medals
 Hungary 3 (1952, 1964, 1968) 1 (1972) 1 (1960) 5
 Great Britain 3 (1900, 1908, 1912) 1 (1948) 4
 Brazil 2 (2016, 2020) 3 (1984, 1988, 2012) 2 (1996, 2008) 1 (1976) 7
 Argentina 2 (2004, 2008) 2 (1928, 1996) 4
 Soviet Union 2 (1956, 1988) 3 (1972, 1976, 1980) 5
 Uruguay 2 (1924, 1928) 2
 Yugoslavia 1 (1960) 3 (1948, 1952, 1956) 1 (1984) 1 (1980) 5
 Spain 1 (1992) 3 (1920, 2000, 2020) 4
 Poland 1 (1972) 2 (1976, 1992) 1 (1936) 3
 East Germany 1 (1976) 1 (1980) 1 (1972) 3
 Nigeria 1 (1996) 1 (2008) 1 (2016) 3
 France 1 (1984) 1 (1900) 1 (1920) 2
 Czechoslovakia 1 (1980) 1 (1964) 2
 Italy 1 (1936) 2 (1928, 2004) 3 (1960, 1984, 1988) 3
 Sweden 1 (1948) 2 (1924, 1952) 1 (1908) 3
 Mexico 1 (2012) 1 (2020) 1 (1968) 2
 Belgium 1 (1920) 1 (1900) 1 (2008) 2
 Canada 1 (1904) 1
 Cameroon 1 (2000) 1
 Denmark 3 (1908, 1912, 1960) 1 (1948) 4
 United States 1 (1904) 1 (1904) 1 (2000) 2
 Bulgaria 1 (1968) 1 (1956) 2
 Germany 1 (2016) 1 (1952) 1
  Switzerland 1 (1924) 1
 Austria 1 (1936) 1
 Paraguay 1 (2004) 1
 Netherlands 3 (1908, 1912, 1920) 1 (1924) 3
 Japan 1 (1968) 2 (2012, 2020) 1
 Norway 1 (1936) 1
 United Team of Germany 1 (1964) 1
 West Germany 1 (1988) 1
 Ghana 1 (1992) 1
 Chile 1 (2000) 1
 South Korea 1 (2012) 1
 Egypt 2 (1928, 1964) 0
 Finland 1 (1912) 0
 India 1 (1956) 0
 Australia 1 (1992) 0
 Portugal 1 (1996) 0
 Iraq 1 (2004) 0
 Honduras 1 (2016) 0

Top scorers by tournament[edit]

Year Player Goals
1900 France Gaston Peltier
United Kingdom John Nicholas
2
1904 Canada Alexander Hall
Canada Tom Taylor
3
1908 Denmark Sophus Nielsen 11
1912 Germany Gottfried Fuchs 10
1920 Sweden Herbert Karlsson 7
1924 Uruguay Pedro Petrone 7
1928 Argentina Domingo Tarasconi 11
1936 Italy Annibale Frossi 7
1948 Denmark John Hansen
Sweden Gunnar Nordahl
7
1952 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Rajko Mitić
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Branko Zebec
7
1956 India Neville D'Souza
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Todor Veselinović
Bulgaria Dimitar Milanov
4
1960 Denmark Harald Nielsen 8
1964 Hungary Ferenc Bene 12
1968 Japan Kunishige Kamamoto 7
1972 Poland Kazimierz Deyna 9
1976 Poland Andrzej Szarmach 6
1980 Soviet Union Sergey Andreyev 5
1984 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Borislav Cvetković
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Stjepan Deverić
France Daniel Xuereb
5
1988 Brazil Romario 7
1992 Poland Andrzej Juskowiak 7
1996 Brazil Bebeto
Argentina Hernán Crespo
6
2000 Chile Iván Zamorano 6
2004 Argentina Carlos Tevez 8
2008 Italy Giuseppe Rossi 4
2012 Brazil Leandro Damião 6
2016 Germany Serge Gnabry
Germany Nils Petersen
6
2020 Brazil Richarlison 5

Records[edit]

Starting with the first official football tournament in London in 1908, Denmark's Sophus Nielsen and Hungary's Antal Dunai share the record for the most total goals scored by a player in tournament history. Both have 13 goals: Nielsen scored 11 goals in 1908 and two in 1912, and Dunai scored six in 1968 and seven in 1972. Ferenc Bene holds the record for the most goals scored by a player in a single Olympics tournament, scoring 12 goals in the 1964 edition. Sophus Nielsen and Gottfried Fuchs share the record for most goals scored in a single Olympic match at 10. Nielson achieved that in the semi-final match against France in 1908, and Fuchs did so in the first-round match against Russia in the 1912 consolation tournament.

Neymar scored the fastest goal in a men's Olympic football match in history, 14 seconds into the semi-final match against Honduras on 17 August 2016.[34]

All-time top scorers[edit]

The all-time top goalscorers with at least 7 goals (since 1908)

Rank Name Team Goals
1 Denmark Sophus Nielsen Denmark 13
Hungary Antal Dunai Hungary 13
3 Hungary Ferenc Bene Hungary 12
4 Argentina Domingo Tarasconi Argentina 11
Uruguay Pedro Petrone Uruguay 11
6 Germany Gottfried Fuchs Germany 10
Poland Kazimierz Deyna Poland 10
8 United Kingdom Harold Walden Great Britain 9
Denmark Vilhelm Wolfhagen Denmark 9
10 Netherlands Jan Vos Netherlands 8
Uruguay Hector Scarone Uruguay 8
Argentina Carlos Tevez Argentina 8
Brazil Bebeto Brazil 8
Denmark Harald Nielsen Denmark 8
Egypt Ibrahim Reyadh Egypt 8
15 Denmark John Hansen Denmark 7
Denmark Anthon Olsen Denmark 7
Sweden Gunnar Nordahl Sweden 7
Italy Annibale Frossi Italy 7
Denmark Vilhelm Wolfhagen Denmark 7
Sweden Herbert Carlsson Sweden 7
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Branko Zebec Yugoslavia 7
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Milan Galić Yugoslavia 7
Japan Kunishige Kamamoto Japan 7
Poland Andrzej Juskowiak Poland 7
Brazil Romario Brazil 7
Brazil Neymar Brazil 7

Hat-tricks[edit]

Since the first official tournament in 1908 in England, 99 hat-tricks have been scored in over 1,000 matches of the 25 editions of the tournament.[citation needed]

Medal table[edit]

  • Countries ranked by total medals won including 1900 and 1904.
  • Bronze medals shared in 1972 tournament
RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 Hungary (HUN)3115
2 Great Britain (GBR)3003
3 Brazil (BRA)2327
4 Argentina (ARG)2204
5 Soviet Union (URS)2035
6 Uruguay (URU)2002
7 Yugoslavia (YUG)1315
8 Spain (ESP)1304
9 Poland (POL)1203
10 East Germany (GDR)1113
 Nigeria (NGR)1113
12 Czechoslovakia (TCH)1102
 France (FRA)1102
14 Italy (ITA)1023
 Sweden (SWE)1023
16 Belgium (BEL)1012
 Mexico (MEX)1012
18 Cameroon (CMR)1001
 Canada (CAN)1001
20 Denmark (DEN)0314
21 Bulgaria (BUL)0112
 United States (USA)0112
23 Austria (AUT)0101
 Germany (GER)0101
 Paraguay (PAR)0101
 Switzerland (SUI)0101
27 Netherlands (NED)0033
28 Chile (CHI)0011
 Ghana (GHA)0011
 Japan (JPN)0011
 Norway (NOR)0011
 South Korea (KOR)0011
 United Team of Germany (EUA)0011
 West Germany (FRG)0011
Totals (34 entries)27272882

Women's tournament[edit]

Women's Olympic Football Tournament
Organising bodyIOC
FIFA
Founded1996
RegionInternational
Number of teams12 (finals)
(from 6 confederations)
Current champions Canada
(1st title)
Most successful team(s) United States
(4 titles)
2024 Summer Olympics

The women's tournament is contested between the full senior national teams, with no restrictions. One place is reserved for the host country. Of the remaining teams, as in World Cup contests a specific number of places are reserved for teams from each continental region; the European (UEFA) teams are chosen from the most successful European teams in the previous year's World Cup, whilst the other continental regions host their own qualifying tournaments in the build-up to the Olympics.

The first women's tournament was at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The United States won the gold medal. Norway defeated the U.S. in 2000 by a golden goal that was highly controversial and seemed like a handball, but was allowed to stand.[35] The finals of the next two tournaments, in 2004 and 2008, also went to extra time, with the U.S. defeating Brazil both times. In 2012 the U.S. won their fourth gold medal defeating Japan 2–1 in the final. In 2016 Germany won its first gold, defeating in the final Sweden, who upset in the succession the U.S. and hosts Brazil. In 2020, Canada won gold on penalties over Sweden, having previously also beaten Brazil and the U.S.

Allocation of places for each continent in the 2024 Games is:

Participating nations[edit]

Numbers refer to the final placing of each team at the respective Games. Host nation is shown in bold.

UEFA
Nation 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Denmark 8 1
 France 4 6 Q 3
 Germany 5 3 3 3 1 5
 Great Britain 5 7 2
 Greece 10 1
 Netherlands 5 1
 Norway 3 1 7 3
 Sweden 6 6 4 6 7 2 2 7
CONMEBOL
Nation 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Argentina 11 1
 Brazil 4 4 2 2 6 4 6 Q 8
 Chile 11 1
 Colombia 11 11 Q 3
CONCACAF
Nation 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Canada 8 3 3 1 4
 Mexico 8 1
 United States 1 2 1 1 1 5 3 Q 8
CAF
Nation 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Cameroon 12 1
 Nigeria 8 6 11 3
 South Africa 10 10 2
 Zambia 9 1
 Zimbabwe 12 1
AFC
Nation 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Australia OFC (q. 2 t.) 7 4 2
 China 2 5 9 5 8 10 6
 Japan 7 7 4 2 8 5
 North Korea 9 9 2
OFC
Nation 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 24 Years
 Australia 7 5 AFC (qualified 2 times) 2
 New Zealand 10 8 9 12 4
Total nations 8 8 10 12 12 12 12 12

Results[edit]

Keys
Ed. Year Hosts Gold medal match Bronze medal match Num.
teams
1st place, gold medalist(s) Gold medal Score 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Silver medal 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Bronze medal Score Fourth place
1
1996 Atlanta  United States
2–1
 China  Norway
2–0
 Brazil
8
2
2000 Sydney  Norway
3–2 (a.s.d.e.t.)
 United States  Germany
2–0
 Brazil
8
3
2004 Athens  United States
2–1 (a.e.t.)
 Brazil  Germany
1–0
 Sweden
10
4
2008 Beijing  United States
1–0 (a.e.t.)
 Brazil  Germany
2–0
 Japan
12
5
2012 London  United States
2–1
 Japan  Canada
1–0
 France
12
6
2016 Rio de Janeiro  Germany  Sweden  Canada
2–1
 Brazil
12
7
2020 Tokyo  Canada
1–1 (3–2 p)
 Sweden  United States
4–3
 Australia
12
8
2024 Paris TBD TBD TBD TBD

Performances by countries[edit]

Below are the 9 nations that have reached at least the semi-final stage in the Summer Olympics finals.

Team Gold medals Silver medals Bronze medals Fourth place Medals
 United States 4 (1996, 2004, 2008, 2012) 1 (2000) 1 (2020) 6
 Germany 1 (2016) 3 (2000, 2004, 2008) 4
 Canada 1 (2020) 2 (2012, 2016) 3
 Norway 1 (2000) 1 (1996) 2
 Brazil 2 (2004, 2008) 3 (1996, 2000, 2016) 2
 Sweden 2 (2016, 2020) 1 (2004) 2
 Japan 1 (2012) 1 (2008) 1
 China 1 (1996) 1
 Australia 1 (2020) 0
 France 1 (2012) 0

Top scorers by tournament[edit]

Winning coaches[edit]

Year Team Coaches
1996  United States United States Tony DiCicco
2000  Norway Norway Per-Mathias Høgmo
2004  United States United States April Heinrichs
2008  United States Sweden Pia Sundhage
2012  United States Sweden Pia Sundhage
2016  Germany Germany Silvia Neid
2020  Canada England Bev Priestman

All-time top scorers[edit]

The all-time top goalscorers with at least 5 goals (since 1996)

Rank Name Team Goals
1 Brazil Cristiane Brazil 14
2 Brazil Marta Brazil 13
3 Canada Christine Sinclair Canada 12
4 Germany Birgit Prinz Germany 10
United States Carli Lloyd United States 10
Netherlands Vivianne Miedema Netherlands 10
7 United States Abby Wambach United States 9
8 Brazil Pretinha Brazil 8
9 Australia Sam Kerr Australia 7
Canada Melissa Tancredi Canada 7
Sweden Stina Blackstenius Sweden 7
12 United Kingdom Ellen White Great Britain 6
Sweden Lotta Schelin Sweden 6
United States Alex Morgan United States 6
Zambia Barbra Banda Zambia 6
16 United States Mia Hamm United States 5
China Sun Wen China 5
United States Tiffeny Milbrett United States 5
United States Megan Rapinoe United States 5
Germany Melanie Behringer Germany 5

Medal table[edit]

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States (USA)4116
2 Germany (GER)1034
3 Canada (CAN)1023
4 Norway (NOR)1012
5 Brazil (BRA)0202
 Sweden (SWE)0202
7 China (CHN)0101
 Japan (JPN)0101
Totals (8 entries)77721

Overall medal table[edit]

  • Countries ranked by total medals won (men's and women's) including 1900 and 1904.[36]
  • Bronze medals shared in 1972 tournament
RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States (USA)4228
2 Hungary (HUN)3115
3 Great Britain (GBR)3003
4 Brazil (BRA)2529
5 Argentina (ARG)2204
6 Soviet Union (URS)2035
7 Canada (CAN)2024
8 Uruguay (URU)2002
9 Yugoslavia (YUG)1315
10 Spain (ESP)1304
11 Sweden (SWE)1225
12 Poland (POL)1203
13 Germany (GER)1135
14 East Germany (GDR)1113
 Nigeria (NGR)1113
16 Czechoslovakia (TCH)1102
 France (FRA)1102
18 Italy (ITA)1023
 Norway (NOR)1023
20 Belgium (BEL)1012
 Mexico (MEX)1012
22 Cameroon (CMR)1001
23 Denmark (DEN)0314
24 Bulgaria (BUL)0112
 Japan (JPN)0112
26 Austria (AUT)0101
 China (CHN)0101
 Paraguay (PAR)0101
 Switzerland (SUI)0101
30 Netherlands (NED)0033
31 Chile (CHI)0011
 Ghana (GHA)0011
 South Korea (KOR)0011
 United Team of Germany (EUA)0011
 West Germany (FRG)0011
Totals (35 entries)343435103

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Notation based on FIFA's official website and the Olympic official ticket guide.
  2. ^ a b For the 2020 Summer Olympics, the age for the eligible players who have been already qualified are adjusted to under 24 years old. In this case, that Olympics was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[13]
  3. ^ a b City of Coventry Stadium and St. James Park were normally called Ricoh Arena and Sports Direct Arena respectively, but because of the IOC rules disallowing corporate sponsorship for event sites, they were renamed for the duration of the Games.
  4. ^ Arena Fonte Nova was normally called Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, but because of the IOC rules disallowing corporate sponsorship for event sites, the venue was renamed for the duration of the Games.
  5. ^ a b Tokyo Stadium and International Stadium Yokohama are normally called Ajinomoto Stadium and Nissan Stadium respectively, but because of the IOC rules disallowing corporate sponsorship for event sites, the venue was renamed for the duration of the Games.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Football - Olympic Results by Discipline". Archived from the original on 3 July 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  2. ^ "What to know about football at the Tokyo Olympics". Washington Post. 19 July 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  3. ^ Creditor, Avi. "The USWNT and Sweden: A Frequent Tale on the Tournament Stage". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b Goldblatt 2008, p. 243.
  5. ^ Mallon, Bill; Widlund, Ture (1998). The 1896 Olympic Games. Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. Jefferson: McFarland. p. 118. ISBN 0-7864-0379-9.
  6. ^ a b c d Goldblatt 2008, p. 244.
  7. ^ a b Goldblatt 2008, p. 247.
  8. ^ Goldblatt 2008, p. 246.
  9. ^ Doyle, Paul (24 November 2011). "The forgotten story of ... football, farce and fascism at the 1936 Olympics". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Controversia – Berlín 36. Un mito derrumbado (The Berlin '36 Controversy. A myth debunked.)" (in Spanish). Larepublica.com.pe. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  11. ^ "Australian Online Soccer Museum". Archived from the original on 3 November 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  12. ^ "Football Tournament of the Olympic Games - Overview". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Olympic men's football age limit raised to 24 after Tokyo Games postponement". The Guardian. Associated Press. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  14. ^ "The Scottish Football Association". Archived from the original on 9 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
  15. ^ http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport/YOUR-VIEWS-Olympic-football-threat.4327759[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Brown pays tribute to GB success". BBC News. 24 August 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  17. ^ "Nations pave way for 2012 GB team". BBC Sport. 29 May 2009. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  18. ^ "London 2012 Olympics: Gareth Bale and non-English players have 'legal right' to play for Team GB". Daily Telegraph. 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  19. ^ Idessane, Kheredine (29 June 2012). "London 2012: No Scotland or N Ireland in Olympic football squad". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  20. ^ Kelso, Paul (14 August 2012). "British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt criticises Football Association for lack of support". London: Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  21. ^ "Organising Committee takes important decisions on FIFA Women's World Cup". FIFA.com. 1 October 2018. Archived from the original on 1 October 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Home nations agree to GB women's football team". BBC Sport. 1 October 2018. Archived from the original on 28 November 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Regulations for the Olympic Football Tournaments" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  24. ^ "REGULATIONS for the Olympic Football Tournaments" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 September 2015.
  25. ^ The 1900 and 1904 tournaments are not recognized by FIFA. The competition has been held regularly, except 1932. Since 1992, only the U23 national teams are allowed to participate.
  26. ^ a b The East German team represented the United Team of Germany in 1964, winning the bronze medal.
  27. ^ The team represented the United Team of Germany in 1956, and the Federal Republic of Germany (i.e., West Germany) in 1972, 1984 and 1988, and winning the bronze medal in 1988.
  28. ^ The United States had two teams at the 1904 Games, taking the silver and bronze medals.
  29. ^ "Games of the I. Olympiad". www.rsssf.com. 3 February 2022. Archived from the original on 14 July 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  30. ^ "Olympic Football: 1896 Demonstration Match between Denmark and Greece". www.topendsports.com. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  31. ^ a b El Fútbol Masculino en los Juegos Olímpicos on AFA.org, 19 July 2021
  32. ^ a b c Historia del fútbol en los Juegos Olímpicos: medallero, palmarés y ganadores by Alberto P. Sierra on As, 20 July 2021
  33. ^ a b c d e Fútbol en los Juegos Olímpicos by José M. Martín, 8 August 2021
  34. ^ "Video: Watch Neymar net the fastest goal in Olympic history to take host nation Brazil into football final". 18 August 2016. Archived from the original on 31 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  35. ^ Lewis, Samantha (28 September 2020). "Julie Foudy remembers USWNT's Sydney 2000 Gold Medal match: 'I can't even watch that game again'". ESPN. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  36. ^ "Olympic Analytics - Medals by Countries". olympanalyt.com. Retrieved 31 January 2022.

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]