Great Britain did not qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. It won three Olympic titles: Paris 1900, London 1908 and Stockholm 1912. In 2012, Great Britain will serve as organizer of the Olympic Games.
The Brazilian Olympic football team will go to Beijing looking forward the first gold medal. This team will no doubt be the nucleus of the nation’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Brazil did not compete in the Olympic football tournament 13 times: Paris 1900, Saint Louis 1904, London 1908, Stockholm 1912, Antwerp 1920, Paris 1924, Amsterdam 1928, Berlin 1936, London 1948, Melbourne 1956, Moscow 1980, Barcelona 1992, Athens 2004.
From 1952 to 2004, Hungary has won 5 Olympic medals, including 3 golds. It has more gold medals than Brazil (3), Argentina (3) and Nigeria (1).
The Honduran men’s national team will travel to Beijing to attend the Olympics. Honduras will make its first appearance in the Peoples Republic of China. Tegucigalpa does not have full diplomatic relations with Beijing. Honduras won the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualification Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee (USA). This Central American country surprised the world with its triumph…
Belgium has had famous football players: Wilfried van Moer, Raoul Lambert, Ruddy Smidts, Marc Emers, Danny Boffin, Marc Degryse and Marc Wilmost. In 1920, Belgium won the Olympic title.
Cote d’Ivoire -also known as Ivory Coast- qualified for the 2008 Olympics. This African team representing Africa at the 2006 FIFA World Championships in Germany. It is one of the best teams in Africa. «We are one of the few African countries to have an organized youth league. Great players have always come out of the Ivory Coast; I’m thinking of Laurent Pokou in the 1970s; and Youssou Fofana in the 1980s. But now the footballing infrastructure is much better and so many youngsters are getting the right coaching», said Henri Michel (former coach of the Cote d’Ivoire national soccer team). Ivory Coast won the African Cup of Nations in 1992.
Argentina has famous coaches: Cesar Luis Menotti, Carlos Salvador Bilardo, Daniel Passarella, Ramon Diaz, Jose Peckerman, Marcelo Bielsa…
The Serbian men’s national team will travel to Beijing for its first Olympics. Football is the most popular sport in Serbia (formerly Serbia & Montenegro).
Mexico did not qualify for the 2008 Olympics. It competed in the Olympic Soccer Tournament 8 times: London 1948, Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Montreal 1976, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004.
The People’s Republic of China made its debut at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in South Korea…
Argentina -FIFA 1978 world champion and junior world champion- boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. It had won the South American Olympic Football Qualification Tournament. Argentina was replaced by Venezuela.
The Italians are Europe’s best hope of reaching the finals. Italy won the gold medal at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. This European country is well known for its great tradition in soccer.
Brazil will have both its soccer teams (women and men) at Beijing 2008.
South Korea will in China to participate in the Olympics. It competed in the Olympic Football Tournament 7 times.
Nigeria is one of the favourites to win the men’s Olympic Soccer tournament. The national team won the gold medal at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. Nigeria defeated Argentina 3-2 and won the Olympic title for the first time. This African country received an invitation to play in the Olympics in 1980 in Moscow (USSR/ currently Russia). Sunnie Ephraim (journalist from Lagos) says: «Qualifying for the Games is one thing; doing well and winning the gold medal as seen in Atlanta, United States 11 years ago is different ball game altogether.
Argentina is one of the hot favorites for the Olympic title. Why? This Latin American country won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007(for the second time in a row). Argentina also won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens (Greece). Final standings: 1.Argentina, 2.Paraguay, 3.Italy, 4.Iraq, 5.Mali, 6.South Korea, 7.Australia, 8.Costa Rica. The Argentine team won four matches in the group «C» (Serbia-Montenegro 6-0, Tunisia 2-0, Australia 1-0). In the quarterfinals, Argentina defeating Costa Rica 4-0. In the semifinals, Argentina beat Italy 3-0 and went on to win the final against Paraguay 1-0. The Olympic champions were Mariano Gonzales, Luciano Figueroa, Javier Saviola, German Lux, Wilfredo Caballero, Roberto Ayala, Fabricio Coloccini, Gabriel Heinze, Clemente Rodríguez, Leandro Fernandez, Javier Mascherano, Cristian Gonzalez, Nicolas Medina, Cesar Delgado, Carlos Tevez, Mauro Rosales.
Soccer/ football was first featured at the 1900 Olympic Games.There were nine different champions in the last nine Olympic Games: Poland (Munich 1972), East Germany (Montreal 1976), Czechoslovakia (Moscow 1980), France (Los Angeles 1984), USSR (Seoul 1988), Spain (Barcelona 1992), Nigeria (Atlanta 1996) and Argentina (Athens 2004).
The 1976 Olympic Soccer Tournament were attended by 13 nations: North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Guatemala, Israel, France, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Brazil, USSR/ Soviet Union, Poland and East Germany. Surprisingly, Uruguay -it was replaced by Cuba- did not participate in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Zambia, Nigeria and Nigeria had withdrawn from the Olympics, due to participation of New Zealand.
In the Beijing 2008 Olympic Football Tournament 16 men’s teams will compete in four groups:
Group «A»: Argentina (South America/ winner of the previous edition), Cote d’Ivoire (Africa), Australia (Oceania), Serbia (Europe).
Group «B»: Holland (Europe), Nigeria (Africa), Japan (Asia), USA.
Group «C»: China (host country), New Zealand (Oceania), Brazil (South America), Belgium (Europe).
Group «D»: South Korea (Asia), Cameroon (Africa), Honduras (Central America), Italy (Europe).
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