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olympic football
2016 Olympic football fast facts

Venues: Venues leading up to the final include those in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus, Salvador, and Bela Horizonte. The women's final on 19 August 19 and the men's final on August 20 will be held at the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio .

: August 3 – August 20, 2016

Teams: 16 men's, 12 women's

Whether you call it soccer or football, this sport is definitely one of the most popular around the globe and, of course, one of the most-watched events at the Summer Olympics.

The Olympic football schedule is also usually the most fast-paced, with up to eight games taking place on match days.

As always, international football favorites Brazil, Argentina - and 2014 FIFA World Cup winners Germany - seem like sure bets for Olympic glory special rules governing Olympic football traditionally handicap the action. That is, age limits for national team players are set to under 23 (with allowances for three over-age players.) Thus, more seasoned players are usually disqualified from the Olympic football field.

Adding to the lack of gold medal talent from Europe? The European Championships are usually held in each Olympic year, which tends to siphon off some of the best players who might have otherwise competed in an Olympic venue. (Also see: Euro 2016.)

As a result, Olympic football can be unpredictable to say the least! The men's tournament, for example, has been won six times by teams from the American continent: Canada, Uruguay (twice), Argentina (twice) and Mexico. Spain were the last European team to win the tournament in 1992 when they beat Poland in the finals.

Of course, unseasoned players who take to the Olympic football field only add to the excitement -- as spectators can usually spot the stars of tomorrow emergiing from any Olympic contest. Previous Olympic Games, for example, have featured Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Neymar.

Olympic football fun facts

The US women's Olympic team celebrate
their gold medal win in London in 2012.

• Hungary has won three Olympic football gold medals - more than any other country.

• Nigeria defeated Argentina 3-2 and won the gold medal in soccer at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The Cinderella team made Olympic football history by becoming the first African, non-European and non-South American team to ever win the gold medal.

• At the 2012 London Summer Olympics the American women's soccer team won won gold for the third time in a row. The 80,203 in attendance at Wembley Stadium was the largest ever for a women's soccer match at the Olympics. The 4.35 million Americans who watched on TV was the most ever for broadcaster NBC Sports Network while the 1.5 million watching on the internet also made Olympic history.

More information about Olympic football around the Web:

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) - Easily navigable portal to international football-soccer with lots to explore in four languages, including complete coverage of Olympic events.

International Olympic Committee- Football - Along with the latest news on the football matches and players, competition format, equipment, glossary and history there are in-depth bios of Olympic football champions of the past.

US Soccer - This official site of US Olympic Soccer Team will keep you in the loop as the Women's Team USA makes their bid for another Olympic medal.

BBC Olympics - Football - Complete coverage of the games includes football events, players and teams, history, football lingo guide.

NBC Olympics - Soccer - U.S. TV schedule, team and athlete profiles, the latest updates and headline news, photo & video clips.


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