Venue: City of Coventry Stadium (Coventry); Hampden Park (Glasgow); Millenium Stadium (Cardiff); Old Trafford (Manchester); St James' Park (Newcastle); Wembley Stadium (London)
Dates: Wednesday 25th July – Saturday 11th August
Competing Athletes: 504 (288 men, 216 women; 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams).
Medal Events: 2
The aim of Football, to score more goals than the opposition, is both simple and universally known. Teams of 11 players compete across two 45-minutes halves, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide drawn matches during the knockout stages of the competition.
Due to the intense schedule, the Football competition actually kicks off two days before the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony with the first group matches. At London 2012, the men’s competition will be an under-23s event, although each country will be allowed to include three older players in their team. There are no age restrictions for the women’s competition.
Both the men’s and women’s competitions will begin with a group stage.
The teams will be divided into groups of four (three groups in the women’s tournament, four groups for the men), and the best eight teams will qualify for the quarter-finals. From here, the competitions are played to a knockout format: the two winning semi-finalists will play for the gold medal at Wembley, with the two losing semi-finalists facing off for the bronze.
- Advantage: Played by the referee after a foul if he feels that the team that has been fouled wouldn’t benefit from a stoppage in play.
- Extra time: If a match in the knockout stages is tied at the end of 90 minutes, the teams play 30 minutes of extra time in a bid to find a winner.
- Foul: Illegal interference with an opposing player, such as tripping.
- Indirect free kick: A type of free kick from which the attacking team cannot score directly without more than one player touching the ball first.
- Penalty shootout: If the scores are tied at the end of extra time, there’s a penalty shootout, in which each team has five penalty kicks. If the teamsremain tied after five penalties, the shootout takes a sudden-death form, with single rounds of one kick per team to determine the winner.
Argentina vs Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games