The Communist countries held their own private Eastern bloc party in 1980 because a number of nations boycotted the Olympics. U.S. President Jimmy Carter refused to send American teams to Moscow after the Soviets' Afghanistan invasion. Six other countries that had qualified for the football tournament followed suit -- Argentina, Egypt, Ghana, Iran, Malaysia and Norway. In their place, as invitees and not qualifiers, were Venezuela, Zambia, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Finland and Cuba.
Because of the many no-shows, many football observers did not view these Games as a true Olympic Football Tournament. But Czechoslovakia certainly did. The Czechs defeated East Germany, 1-0, on a goal by substitute midfielder Jindrich Svoboda, to capture their first gold medal. Only four minutes after replacing Werner Licka in the 73rd minute, Svoboda chipped the ball over goalkeeper Bodo Rudwaleit and into the net.
Each side lost their playmakers to red cards in the 58th minute -- the Czechs' Jan Berger and the Germans' Wolfgang Steinbach. The East Germans did not have one player from their 1976 gold-medal winning team!
For the third consecutive Olympics, the defending champions took home a silver medal and the final was played in the rain, in front of a crowd of 80,000 in the Lenin Stadium. In fact, the crowd totals were most impressive as an Olympic football record 1,821,624 spectators watched the 32 matches, or 35 percent of the total attendance for the entire Games.
One of the big surprises was Algeria, who qualified for the second round. They were led by Rabah Madjer, who scored the game-winning goal for Porto (Portugal) to capture the 1987 European Champions Cup against Bayern Munich (Germany), and Lakhdar Belloumi.
The host Soviets, who were stunned by East Germany in the semi-finals, earned a bronze after a 2-0 victory over Yugoslavia, as tournament scoring champion Sergey Andreev (five goals) and Khoren Oganesyan scored. But that was not good enough for their fans, who whistled their displeasure at their heroes during the medal ceremonies.