The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent
Men & Women Football Olympics

Men & Women Football Olympics

05/07/2021 08:58
Anderson Patterson

Table of Contents

Football at the OlympicsFormatWomen’s TournamentMen’s TournamentRecordsConclusion

The Summer Olympics 2020 will feature the association football tournament scheduled between 21 July 2021 and 7 August 2021.

Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics 2020. However, the association football matches will be played in Saitama, Sendai, Kashima, Sapporo, Yokohama, and the host city.

All the FIFA associations may send teams to play in this tournament. The women’s teams do not have any age restriction, but the men’s teams can only feature under 24 players, with a maximum of three overage players allowed for each team.

The Summer Olympics 2020 Football will witness the video assistance referee for the first time.

The Olympics will feature a lot of teams and many matches- which is great news for the soccer punters. Use boku bookmakers to avail of exciting offers. Our guest author, Kate Richardson, shares her insights into sports betting.

Football at the Olympics

Men’s soccer has been a part of all the Summer Olympics, except 1986 and 1932. On the other hand, women’s soccer was introduced to Olympics at the 1996 Atlanta games.

Soccer was not included in the first modern Olympic games programs in 1896. At that time, soccer did not have much recognition internationally. Soccer was first introduced to the Olympic games in 1908 with only six teams.

The teams grew in numbers with every edition, and gradually football was becoming an integral part of the modern Olympic games. The British dominated the game over a long period and won the first two titles beating Denmark both times.

Uruguay and Argentina were the first South American teams to enter the Olympics in 1924 and 1928, respectively. In 1928, Uruguay won both the FIFA and Olympics and marked a new beginning of American Soccer.


The association football tournament at the Summer Olympics consists of a group stage, followed by the knockouts. The same format will be followed for both men’s and women’s tournaments.

The teams are divided into groups. Each group includes four teams. All the teams will be playing three matches against the remaining teams within a group. Each win will earn 3 points for a team, and a draw match will award one point each to both the teams and no points for a loss.

The top two teams that make it to the top of each group will qualify for the knockout stage. However, two third-position holders with more points will also be eligible for the knockouts for the women’s team. The knockout stage will feature quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze matches, and the final.

The tournament will follow the standard soccer rules. During the knockout stage, if a match is tied during the knockout stage, there will be 30 minutes of extra play in two halves. In case the results are not decided after the extra time, the winner will be determined by 5 rounds of penalty kicks for each team.


Women’s Tournament

The women’s association football tournament at the Summer Olympics 2020 will include full national sides without any age restrictions. One spot is automatically reserved for the host country.    

Out of the remaining spots, a particular number of places are reserved for each continent- similar to the women’s World Cup. The best performing European teams automatically qualify from Europe.

Whereas the other continents host qualifiers to decide which teams shall participate in the Olympic games.

The first women’s soccer tournament at the Olympics was at the Atlanta Games of 1996. The United States national women’s team emerged victorious in the inaugural edition. They also qualified for the finals at the next Olympics, where Norway defeated them by one golden goal. If a goal is scored during the 30 minutes of extra play, it is referred to as a golden goal.

Men’s Tournament

Similar to the World Cup qualifiers, the qualifying tournament for Olympic games is conducted along continental lines. The major continental authorities organize an exclusive under-23 qualifying tournament. However, the European teams are decided from the UEFA under-21 World Cup. The finalists of the tournament automatically qualify for the Olympic games.

The South American Youth Championship, an under-20 tournament, determines the team or teams from South America to participate in the Olympics.

All the teams participating either in the qualifiers or the final tournament must be composed of players below 23 years of age. A maximum of three overage players are allowed, and all of them must be at least 23 years of age. For Tokyo Games 2020, all players must have been born after 1 January 1997.


Many new records are made, and the old ones are broken in every edition of the association football tournament.

Let’s take a look into some of the most impressive Olympic football records of all time:

  • Sophus Nielsen from Denmark and Antal Dunai from Hungary are the joint highest goal scorers in the history of the Olympics, with 13 goals.
  •  Ferenc Bene has scored the maximum number of goals in a single tournament, that is 12.
  • Sophus Nielsen holds another record of scoring the maximum goals in a single Olympic match, that is 10. He scored 10 goals against France in the 1908 semi-final. However, Gottfried Fuchs from Germany has leveled his records by scoring 10 goals against Russia in 1912.


Olympics, the greatest sports festival in the world, is back in Tokyo. Although the event was supposed to be held in 2020, the unfortunate COVID-19 breakout forced us to postpone it by one year.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will start on 23 July 2021.

Anderson Patterson | Anderson is a video editor and developer who believes in the power of visual organization. He recently graduated from the University of Washington, where he concentrated on post-production during his studies. He was first exposed to the mystical world of visual art creation while watching his father edit advertisements when he was a child, and he has been working towards his dream of becoming a video editor ever since.


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