OLYMPIC GAMES FOOTBALL
How did this Olympics football competition come about?
The Olympic Games originated in 1896. They were then organized for the first time in Athens, Greece.
Athletes competed in disciplines such as athletics, weightlifting, fencing, tennis, swimming,… Football was not yet on the program.
On the second and third edition in 1900 and 1904 yes, but only as a demonstration. Years later, the IOC officially included these Olympic tournaments in the results. Women’s football was not recognized as an Olympic discipline until 1996. The first year eight countries participated.
Entirely in line with the historic Olympic philosophy, in the initial phase only amateur athletes were allowed to participate in the competitions. This restriction was further reinforced when additional regulations were drawn up in 1956 which stipulated that countries that had reached the final round of the previous world championship were also not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games. From 1968, any country that had participated in the qualifiers for the same World Cup was also barred from participating in the Olympic Games.
Eastern Bloc countries, where professional players retained amateur status because they were sponsored by the state, benefited greatly from these regulations. It meant that they could use high-level players, which was reflected in the results: between 1948 and 1980, Eastern Bloc countries took away as many as 23 of the 27 medals.
From 1970, the IOC appeared to soften somewhat in the rigid belief that only amateur athletes should participate. From 1984, non-amateurs were also allowed to participate, subject to a number of new regulations drawn up by FIFA to avoid too much competition with the World Cup. For example, for Europe and South America there was a restriction that players who had played one or more full World Cup matches (including qualifiers) were excluded.
Football Olympics – The best teams in this competition
Great Britain and Hungary are the countries that won the most titles at the Olympics.
Teams that won a gold medal:
3 gold medals:
- Great Britain (1900, 1908 and 1912)
- Hungary (1952, 1964 and 1968)
2 gold medals:
- Uruguay (1924 and 1928)
- Argentina (2004 and 2008)
- Soviet Union (1956 and 1988
1 gold medal:
- Canada (1904)
- Belgium (1920)
- Italy (1936)
- Sweden (1948)
- Yugoslavia (1960)
- Poland (1972)
- GDR (1976)
- Czechoslovakia (1980)
- France (1984)
- Spain (1992)
- Nigeria (1996)
- Cameroon (2000)
- Mexico (2012)
- Brazil (2016)
Teams that won a silver medal
3 silver medals:
- Denmark (1908, 1912 and 1960)
- Yugoslavia (1948, 1952, 1956)
- Brazil (1984, 1988 and 2012)
2 silver medals:
- Spain (1920)
- Argentina (1928 and 1996)
- Poland (1976 and 1992)
1 silver medal:
- France (1900)
- United States (1904)
- Switzerland (1924)
- Austria (1936)
- Czechoslovakia (1964)
- Bulgaria (1968)
- Hungary (1972)
- GDR (1980)
- Paraguay (2004)
- Nigeria (2008)
- Germany (2016)
Teams that won a bronze medal
3 bronze medals:
- Netherlands (1908, 1912, 1920)
- Soviet Union (1972 (equivalent to DDR), 1976, 1980)
2 bronze medals:
- Sweden (1924)
- Italy (1928)
- Brazil (1996, 2008)
1 bronze medal
- Belgium (1900)
- United States (1904)
- Norway (1936)
- Denmark (1948)
- Bulgaria (1956)
- Hungary (1960)
- German unity team (1964)
- Japan (1968)
- DDR (equal to Soviet Union in 1972)
- Yugoslavia (1984)
- Federal Republic of Germany (1988)
- Ghana (1992)
- Chile (2000)
- South Korea (2012)
- Nigeria (2016)
The women of the United States have been the most successful since 1986 (through 2016). They won four of the six tournaments. In 2000 the gold medal went to Norway and in 2016 to Germany.
Second places and the corresponding silver medals were won by China (1996), the United States (2000), Brazil (2008 and 2012) and finally Sweden (2016).
The third place was divided among the following three countries: Norway (1996), Germany (2000, 2004 and 2008) and Canada (2012 and 2016)
How is the competition currently organized?
Each country that is officially affiliated to the World Football Association FIFA and also to the International Olympic Committee is allowed to register one team for the qualifying tournament. This applies to both men and women. The only condition for the men’s competition is that the players participating must not be older than 23 years. There are no restrictions for women.
2021 Qualifying – Men’s Football
Due to the prevailing corona pandemic, the organization of the Olympic Games decided to postpone the 2020 tournament until the summer of 2021. With the exception of a cancellation due to the First and Second World Wars, this postponement in 2021 was the first time in the long run. history of the Olympic Games that the major sporting event was cancelled.
Sixteen countries participate in the men’s competitions at the Olympic Games football
Sixteen countries will participate in the men’s competitions during the 2021 Olympic Games. Japan has been selected as the host country anyway and therefore does not have to qualify. It is good to know that because of the delay of the year, FIFA has decided to increase the participation age of maximum 23 years by one year. The following countries were selected from the various national competitions and divided into four groups:
- South Africa
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- Ivory Coast
Qualification 2021 – Women’s Football
Twelve countries participate in the women’s competitions at the Olympic Games football
The competition program for the women runs from 21 to 27 July 2021. The following countries were able to qualify for the Olympic duels and were divided into three groups:
- The Netherlands
- United States
- New Zealand
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