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One year to go: Men's Olympic Football Tournament – THE SVG ONLINE

One year to go: Men's Olympic Football Tournament

Men’s Olympic Football Tournament

Ryotaro Meshino of Japan (L) celebrates scoring his side's goal during the AFC U-23 Championship match between Japan and Saudi Arabia 
© Getty Images
  • Men’s Olympic Football Tournament scheduled to start on 22 July 2021
  • Postponed due to the pandemic, Olympic Games will take place in a year’s time
  • We review the qualified teams, key facts and stats

The countdown is on once again for the Olympic Games. The COVID-19 pandemic may have forced its postponement until 2021, but enthusiasm for the iconic event remains intact.

To mark the one-year-to-go milestone until the Olympic flame is lit and the action begins in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament, we are bringing you a rundown of the teams already qualified, those one step away and some interesting facts and figures you may not know about the event.

Tokyo's National Stadium
© Getty Images

Men’s Olympic Football Tournament

  • When is it planned: 22 July to 7 August 2021
  • Who will take part: 16 teams from six confederations will compete for podium places

Qualified teams:

Asia: Japan (hosts), Australia, Korea Republic (regional qualifying champions) and Saudi Arabia

Europe: France, Germany, Romania and Spain (regional champions)

Africa: Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt (regional champions) and South Africa

South America: Argentina (regional champions) and Brazil

Oceania: New Zealand (regional champions)

Korea Republic celebrate winning the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship.
© AFC

Teams still with a chance of qualifying:

North/Central America and Caribbean:

There are two remaining spots in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament and they will both come from the Concacaf region. Its final qualifying tournament will be played in Guadalajara, Mexico with the dates still to be determined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight teams will compete for the two remaining direct tickets to Tokyo 2020 and they are as follows:

Group A: Mexico, USA, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic

Group B: Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and Haiti

Brazil line up to receive their gold medals
© Getty Images

Did you know?

  • Olympic staple: Men’s football has been a part of the Olympic programme since London 1908. Tokyo 2020 will be the 25th edition.
  • Familiar faces: Every team that has qualified for Tokyo 2020 has previous Men’s Olympic Football Tournament experience. So far, no team will be making their debut, however, depending on the results of the Concacaf qualifying tournament, that could change.
  • Where young talent will shine: Professionals were first permitted to take part in Olympic men’s football in 1992. However, the men’s tournament, unlike the women’s, is largely a U-23 competition, with the exception of three over-age players. Players born on or after 1 January 1997, and three additional players, will be eligible to compete at Tokyo 2020.
  • Golden Hungary: Hungary have collected the most gold medals in the event’s history with three. However, Brazil have the most total medals with six. If Argentina (2) win the gold medal at Tokyo 2020 they will equal the Hungarians at the top.
  • Honour roll: There have been plenty of famous names who have won Olympic gold in men’s football, including: Vivian Woodward, Jose Andrade, Hector Castro, Pedro Cea, Jose Nasazzi, Pedro Petrone, Hector Scarone, Ugo Locatelli, Gunnar Gren, Nils Liedholm, Gunnar Nordahl, Sandor Kocsis, Ferenc Puskas, Lev Yashin, Ferenc Bene, Kazimierz Deyna, Grzegorz Lato, Wlodek Lubanski, Igor Dobrovolski, Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha, Samuel Eto’o, Javier Mascherano, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme, Giovani dos Santos, Raul Jimenez, Gabriel Jesus and Neymar. Who will join this historic list next year?
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