What you need to know for 2021 – NBC Chicago
The Tokyo Olympics arrived after a one-year postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olympic football, which was first introduced at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, can be one of the most fun and entertaining events of the Games.
The US men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics for the third time in a row and have missed four of the last five Games. Fortunately, the United States’ national women’s football team are the reigning FIFA World Cup champions and the favorite to win their fifth gold in Tokyo.
There is so much to look forward to this summer, so here’s everything you need to know about Olympic soccer.
What are the rules of Olympic football?
Same as regular soccer: each team has 11 players, 10 outfielders and a goalie. A match consists of two 45-minute periods with a 15-minute half-time.
When are the men’s and women’s Olympic football tournaments held?
Olympic football tournaments traditionally start before the Opening Ceremony, and this year is no different.
The US women’s team competes in Group G. They will face Sweden at 4:30 am ET on Wednesday, July 21. The United States will next face New Zealand at 7:30 a.m. ET on July 24 and close out the group stage at 4 a.m. on July 27 against Australia.
The knockout stage begins on June 30 and ends in Tokyo for the gold medal match on August 6.
The men’s Olympic tournament kicks off at 3:30 a.m. ET on July 22 and the group stage continues on July 25 and 28. The knockout phase will begin at 4 a.m. ET on July 31 and conclude at Yokohama International Stadium for the gold medal game. August 7.
Where are the Olympic football tournaments held?
A total of seven venues will be used for the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer teams.
The US women’s team will play their group matches in three different stadiums: first at Tokyo Stadium; then at Saitama Stadium, located about 30 kilometers north of Tokyo; and finally at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima, which is on the Japanese coast about 70 miles northeast of Tokyo.
Other cities that will host tournaments during the games are Chofu, Yokohama and Rifu.
Who is on the United States National Women’s Football Team?
Goalkeepers (2): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City / ENG), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett ( Spirit of Washington)
Midfielder (5): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage)
Forwards (5): Tobin Heath (Unattached), Carli Lloyd (NJ / NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Unattached), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)
What are the groups for the Olympic football tournaments in 2021?
Sixteen teams will face off in the men’s tournament and so far there is no clear favorite for the Tokyo Games. Brazil won the most recent gold medal in Rio.
Of the 12 teams in the women’s draw, the United States – which leads the FIFA world rankings – are the favorites to win their fifth gold after failing to win a medal in 2016 after a disappointing loss to the Sweden.
Group A: Japan, South Africa, Mexico, France
Group B: New Zealand, South Korea, Honduras, Romania
Group C: Egypt, Spain, Argentina, Australia
Group D: Brazil, Germany, Ivory Coast, Saudi Arabia
Group E: Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Chile
Group F: China, Brazil, Zambia, Netherlands
Group G: Sweden, United States, Australia, New Zealand
How is the Olympic football tournament different from the FIFA World Cup?
For starters, there are 32 teams at the Men’s World Cup, and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will also have 32 teams (up from 24 in 2019).
Countries participating in the World Cup send rosters of 23 players, but only 18 players are allowed on a team roster at the Olympics.
Unlike the Olympics, the World Cup has the option of hosting its women’s tournament one calendar year after the men’s tournament, so there is no interference with the audience.
There are no age restrictions at the Men’s or Women’s World Cup or in the women’s teams at the Olympic Games. However, men’s teams at the Olympics must have at least 20 players aged 23 or under, with only three players allowed to be over 23.
FIFA has announced that it will use the same eligibility criteria for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that it intends to use in 2020: players born on or after January 1, 1997 are eligible, plus three age exceptions. Therefore, players born in 1997 will not be disqualified due to the postponement of the Olympics for one year.