Going for gold
© Foto-net

One hundred years after the first men's tournament took place in London, football at the Olympic Games celebrates its centenary in China. This will be the 22nd time that the beautiful game, the first-ever team sport to be played at an Olympics, will feature as part of the Games, but the first time that the women's event will include 12 teams.

A total of 28 countries will contest the two tournaments which take place in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao, the five host cities. Fifty-eight games will be played, with both finals as well as the bronze medal matches taking place in the Chinese capital, with the showpiece, the men's final taking place at the iconic 'Bird's Nest' National Stadium.

The female action gets underway on Wednesday 6 August, with the men's tournament kicking-off the following day. As usual, FIFA.com will be there covering every bit of the action, with match reports on the final whistle, exclusive interviews with players and coaches, as well as the finest collection of photographs available on the internet.

Stars on show
But who will be returning home with the medals? The South Americans have served notice of their intent for glory, with Ronaldinho, Diego and Alexandre Pato part of the Brazilian squad, while Argentina boast Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme and Sergio Aguero in their squad of 18. USA are boosted by the presence of Jozy Altidore, Freddy Adu and Brian McBride, Netherlands have Ryan Babel, Royston Drenthe and Roy Makaay in their ranks, while Taye Taiwo and Salomon Kalou will be turning out for Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire respectively.

Some of the most celebrated names of female football are also on display. Unlike the men, whose squads are restricted to players under 23, with the exception of three overage players, of no age restrictions apply to the women's tournament. Therefore the likes of three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Birgit Prinz (Germany) and two-time winner Marta (Brazil) will be on display, with Cristiane (Brazil), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Hannah Ljungberg (Sweden) and Shannon Boxx (USA) other players to watch.

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