Spread across six major grounds around the UK, the London 2012 Olympic Games Football competition promises plenty of excitement.

Did you know?

During the Football competition, approximately 2,400 footballs will be used.
Hungary has won three Football gold medals – more than any other country.
The only time a gold-medal match has been decided on penalties was in Sydney 2000, when Cameroon won.
The only time a replay was needed to decide a Football final at the Games was in Amsterdam 1928. Uruguay beat Argentina 2-1 in the decider.
Despite its successes in the FIFA World Cup, Brazil has never won an Olympic gold medal in Football.
Great Britain won the first Olympic Football gold medal at the London 1908 Olympic Games.

Key facts

Venues: City of Coventry Stadium, Coventry; Hampden Park, Glasgow; Millennium Stadium, Cardiff; Old Trafford, Manchester; St James’ Park, Newcastle; Wembley Stadium                 
Dates: Wednesday 25 July – Saturday 11 August
Medal events: 2
Athletes:  504 (288 men, 216 women; 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams).

Football will be a major feature of the Olympic programme at London 2012. Beginning with group matches and ending with a knockout phase, the competition will offer all the drama that fans have come to expect from major international tournaments. There will be two medal events at London 2012, one for men’s teams and one for women.

The basics

The aim of Football, to score more goals than the opposition, is both simple and universally known. Teams of 11 players compete across two 45-minutes halves, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide drawn matches during the knockout stages of the competition.

Due to the intense schedule, the Football competition actually kicks off two days before the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony with the first group matches. At London 2012, the men’s competition will be an under-23s event, although each country will be allowed to include three older players in their team. There are no age restrictions for the women’s competition.

Both the men’s and women’s competitions will begin with a group stage. The teams will be divided into groups of four (three groups in the women’s tournament, four groups for the men), and the best eight teams will qualify for the quarter-finals. From here, the competitions are played to a knockout format: the two winning semi-finalists will play for the gold medal at Wembley, with the two losing semi-finalists facing off for the bronze.

Olympic Football, past and present

Football was introduced as a medal sport at the 1908 Olympic Games. Great Britain won the gold medal, then successfully defended their title four years later in Stockholm. The sport has featured at every Olympic Games since, with the exception of Los Angeles 1932.

The Football competition at London 2012 will be staged at six grounds around the UK, including venues in Wales (Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium) and Scotland (Hampden Park in Glasgow). The finals will take place at Wembley Stadium in London.


Jargon buster

  • Advantage: Played by the referee after a foul if he feels that the team that has been fouled wouldn’t benefit from a stoppage in play.
  • Extra time: If a match in the knockout stages is tied at the end of 90 minutes, the teams play 30 minutes of extra time in a bid to find a winner.
  • Foul: Illegal interference with an opposing player, such as tripping.
  • Indirect free kick: A type of free kick from which the attacking team cannot score directly without more than one player touching the ball first.
  • Penalty shootout: If the scores are tied at the end of extra time, there’s a penalty shootout, in which each team has five penalty kicks. If the teams remain tied after five penalties, the shootout takes a sudden-death form, with single rounds of one kick per team to determine the winner.

Get involved

Wherever you live in the UK, you can be sure that there’s a football club or coaching scheme in your area. To find out more about local leagues and development programmes, visit the websites of  The FA, Scottish FA, The Football Association of Wales, The Irish FA and the Federation Internationale de Football Association

Lionel Messi of Argentina at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

~ by superbowlnyc on February 17, 2011.

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