Olympic Football Tournament Antwerp 1920
August 28 - September 05

Olympic Football Tournament Antwerp 1920

Olympic Football Tournament Antwerp 1920

Final Tournament Standing


Antwerp, 1920

After an eight-year hiatus due to World War I, football returned to the global arena in Belgium as the Olympic flag and its famous five rings was hoisted for the first time.

Slowly but surely the football tournament was expanding as 14 countries participated, including a non-European nation for the first time -- Egypt. The Egyptians were defeated by Italy in the opening round, 2-1. But what made bigger headlines was the surprising elimination of Great Britain, who had won the title twice, by Norway in the opening round, 3-1.

Given a first-round bye, host, Belgium needed only a 3-1 victory over Spain and 19-year-old future goalkeeping star Ricardo Zamora. The Belgians then blanked the Netherlands in the semi-finals, 3-0.

Playing in their very first international competition, Czechoslovakia proved they could take on the world and then some, outscoring the opposition, 15:1, en route to the final. But the Czechs never finished what they started against Belgium in the gold-medal match, walking off the field to protest a sending-off in the 39th minute. Belgium, who led, 2-0, were declared champions. Robert Coppee and Henri Larnoe scored in the 6th and 30th minutes respectively.

A play-off was necessary to determine the silver medallists. France refused to play because a good portion of their squad had returned home. So Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden played off for the right to meet the Netherlands for second place. Spain earned the berth, defeating the Dutch, 3-1.

Sweden's Herbert Karlsson was the tournament's leading goalscorer with seven, mostly on the strength of his five goals in a 9-0 first-round win over Greece.