The Beijing Games are almost here and the world of football is abuzz with anticipation of watching established stars and young starlets battle it out for Olympic glory.
FIFA.com would like to know who you think will return home as Olympic Champions. Brazil’s have earned their reputation as an international juggernaut with their five FIFA World Cup™ championships, but the Olympic gold medal has eluded them. Can Ronaldinho lead the Seleção to the only major football crown they’ve never won?
Fellow South American giants Argentina, meanwhile, saw their stellar success at youth levels carry over to the Olympics four years ago, when they brought home gold from Athens 2004. They have high hopes for repeating that performance with a squad that features nine players who have been U-20 world champions. Will overage players Juan Roman Riquelme and Javier Mascherano prove the right complements to the Albiceleste’s wealth of young talent?
African sides have also seen Olympic success, with Cameroon winning it in 2000 and Nigeria in 1994. Both are in the mix again this year, but can one of them get back to the top of the podium? As for the Europeans, they have not won an Olympic Football Tournament since Spain did it on home soil at Barcelona 1992. Will Italy or the Netherlands be the team that ends this streak?
On the women’s side, the United States have won two out of the three previous tournaments and will again be among the favorites, but can they survive the loss of injured forward Abby Wambach? Brazil finished runners up in Athens and come to Beijing with two of the best players in the world in Marta and Cristiane. Will they be able to do what the Brazilian men have never done? Or will China, who lost in the 1996 final, win in front of their home fans?
Let us know who you think will prevail at Beijing 2008. As always, please keep your comments clean, respectful and in English.