Olympic Sports >> Soccer

Soccer

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THE 2 EVENTS

  • 1 men's tournament (16 teams)
  • 1 women's tournament (12 teams)

THE FORMAT

  • Men's tournament: In the first round, the teams are split into 4 groups of 4. The top 2 in each group advance to the knock-out phase: quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze medal match and final.
  • Women's tournament: In the first round, the teams are split into 3 groups of 4. The top 2 in each group and the 2 best third-placed teams advance to the knock-out phase: quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze medal match and final.

MILESTONES

16th century

At the time of the Renaissance in Florence, a game called "calcio", a direct ancestor of football, is popular.

1846

The first set of rules are drawn up at Cambridge University, in England.

1863

The English Football Association (FA) is founded, establishing the laws of the game.

1870

The FA decrees that a team will be made up of 11 players.

1871

Scotland and England play out a 0-0 draw in the first ever international match.

1900

Football makes its debut as an Olympic sport (with just 4 participating teams).

1930

The first World Cup is hosted and won by Uruguay.

1958

Brazil win their first World Cup, inspired by a 17-year-old prodigy named Pele.

1996

The Olympics hosts the first women's tournament, won by the USA.

2002

Brazil win a record fifth World Cup in Asia, beating Germany 2-0 in the final.

2010

Spain lift the first World Cup on African soil as they triumph over the Netherlands in Johannesburg.

STARS

Pele (Brazil)

The King. Edson Arantes do Nascimento is widely considered the greatest player of all time, after helping Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He also won two Intercontinental Cups and two Copa Libertadores titles with Santos. He scored 1,285 goals in a 20-year career and is seen as the symbol of Brazil's golden age.

Diego Maradona (Argentina)

Maradona could do it all. He carried Argentina on his diminutive shoulders (1.68m) as they won the World Cup in 1986 and reached the final in 1990. He also won the Spanish Cup with Barcelona, as well as two Italian championships, the Italian Cup and the UEFA Cup with modest Napoli. Some consider the midfield maestro Pele's equal, but he suffered a dramatic fall from grace due to a doping infrigement and cocaine addiction.

Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)

The Kaiser. Beckenbauer won the World Cup as a player in 1974 and as a coach in 1990. Credited with the invention of the modern sweeper role, he also helped West Germany win the European Championship in 1972. At club level, he won three European Cups (1974, 1975 and 1976), 1 Cup Winners' Cup (1967) and five German league titles (4 with Bayern Munich, 1 with Hamburg).


Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.



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