Olympic Football Tournaments 1996 - Men
Facts, Figures and Anecdotes
Great football tournaments thrive on bits and pieces of history, and the Olympic football tournament is no exception. FIFA Magazine sets the scene for the Centennial Games with a collection of Olympic facts and figures . . .
Medal Winning Facts
Most gold medals (country): Hungary brought home the gold in 1952, 1964 and 1968. Most medals (country): Five, by Hungary, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Hungary took the gold in 1952, 1964 and 1968, the silver in 1972 and a bronze in 1960. The Soviets captured the gold in 1956 and 1988 and the bronze in 1972, 1976 and 1980. Yugoslavia won the gold in 1960, silvers in 1948, 1952 and 1956 and the bronze in 1984. Most medals (individual): Hungarian defender Dezso Nowak earned a brone medal in 1960 and gold medals in 1964 and 1968. Most consecutive medals: By Yugoslavia, which was the bridesmaid in three consecutive Olympics, winning the silver in 1948, 1952 and 1956 before securing the gold in 1960. Youngest gold medal winner: Uruguay's Pedro Petrone was two days shy of his 19th birthday when he accepted a gold medal in 1924. Oldest gold medal winner: England's Vivian Woodward, a First Division player, was 33 years and 32 days old when he won a gold medal in 1912. Crashing the Soviet Bloc party: Of the 25 medals awarded between the 1952 Olympics and the 1980 Summer Games, Sweden (bronze in 1952), Denmark (silver in 1960) and Japan (bronze in 1968) were the only non-Eastern European countries to take home medals. The only shared medals: East Germany and the Soviet Union played to a 2-2 draw in the bronze medal match at the 1972 Summer Games and wound up sharing third-place honours. It has not been done, yet: No CONCACAF or Oceania country has won an Olympic medal. The best finish was fourth place. Mexico (CONCACAF) accomplished that feat at the 1968 Summer Games, while Australia (Oceania) took fourth place at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Brother acts: The Nordahl brothers, Bertil, Knut and Gunnar were starters on Sweden's gold-medal team in 1948. Another threesome, Hans, Flemming and Harald Nielsen were members of Denmark's silver-winning squad in 1960. The first brothers to win gold medals were Antonio and Santos Urdinaran, who played for the 1924 Uruguayan championship side.
The lone American: The U.S. has never won a medal in soccer, but one American soccer player has actually earned one. Joe Lydon was a member of the U.S. team at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, when soccer was a demonstration sport. Lydon won a silver medal in the welterweight division in boxing.
Olympic Facts And Figures
Longest unbeaten streak: 18 games, by Hungary, from the bronze medal game in 1960 to the championship match in 1972. The Hungarians compiled a 16-0-2 mark. The only undefeated team: Uruguay competed in two Olympics and won both gold medals. The South Americans compiled a 9-0-1 record, scoring 33 goals and surrendering only seven. Uruguay has not participated since. Most Olympic appearances: 11, by Yugoslavia, followed by 10 each by the United States and Egypt. Only tied final: In 1928 between Uruguay and Argentina, a 1-1 draw. In the replay, Uruguay prevailed, 2-1. Goals, goals, goals: Since 1948, the average number of goals per match steadily dropped from an all-time high of 5.66 per match to a low of 2.56 at Moscow in 1980. It was up slightly to 2.63 in 1984 and 2.97 in 1988, but slipped to 2.71 in 1992. Most unusual goal: In the 1948 semifinals against Denmark, Swedish striker Gunnar Nordahl found himself caught offside after a number of quick possession changes. Thinking quickly, he ran into the back of the Danish goal, taking himself off the field. Seconds later, Nordahl caught a header from teammate Henry Carlsson with the goalkeeper on the ground. The goal counted.
Olympics skipped due to war: 1916, 1940 and 1944.
See no evil, speak no evil: During Italy's 1-0 victory over the United States at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, two American players were injured when the referee ordered Achille Piccini of Italy off the field. The player refused to comply. Several Italian teammates surrounded the official and covered his mouth with their hands. Piccini remained in the game. A tarnished bronze: When the Soviet Union was awarded a bronze medal for taking third place at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, it wasn't good enough for their fans, who whistled their displeasure at their heroes during medal ceremonies. Luck of the coin toss, Part I: Yugoslavia qualified for the semifinals by winning a coin toss after tying Bulgaria for the Group 1 title in the preliminary round of the 1960 Summer Games in Rome. Luck of the coin toss, Part II: After tying Israel in the quarterfinals, 1-1, Bulgaria was the recipient of some good luck, reaching the semifinals of the 1968 Games in Mexico City after a coin flip. Bulgaria took the silver, losing to Hungary in the final, 4-Irate fans: The crowd at Azecta Stadium were so angry at Mexico's 2-0 loss to Japan in the bronze-medal match of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, they threw cushions onto the field. They repeated the feat in the gold-medal match. Most red cards: Bulgaria had three players given their marching orders in the 1968 final in Mexico City. Forward Yancho Dimitrov was ejected for rough play, Atabas Hrisou for kicking the ball at referee Diego DeLeo and later Kiril Ivkov in Hungary's 4-1 victory. The greatest comeback: The Soviet Union rallied from a 5-1 deficit and later scored three goals in the final 14 minutes to tie Yugoslavia, 5-5, at the 1952 Games in Tampere, Finalnd, in one of the greatest comebacks in international soccer history. Two days later, Yugoslavia won the rematch, 3-1. Money definitely talks: Switzerland reached the final of the 1924 Games in Paris, but was almost knocked out of the competition due to its lack of finances. The team's train ticket was valid for only 10 days and their money had run out. An appeal by a newspaper, Sport, brought in the needed funds. But money could not buy happiness or a title as Uruguay captured the first of its two successive gold medals with a 3-0 triumph.
No games: There was no soccer tournament at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. Because of the growing professional influence and of a presence of a World Cup, there were difficulties defining what an amateur was. Soccer returned to the 1936 Games in Berlin because organizers needed the money generated by the tournament.
Gold-Medal Game Trivia
Good tactical move: Substitute midfielder Jindrich Svoboda scored to give Czechoslovakia a 1-0 triumph over East Germany to win the 1980 gold medal in Moscow. Double exposure: Not only did Great Britain become the first country to win consecutive gold medals in the 1908 and 1912 Olympics, they were involved in the only consecutive tournaments in which the top three teams were repeated. Denmark was second, the Netherlands third in both competitions. Abandoned match: The only final unable to be completed was the 1920 gold-medal match in Antwerp. Czechoslovakia, which had outscored its opposition, 15-1, en route to the championship game, walked off the field to protest a disputed goal and the ejection of Karel Steiner for a bad foul in the opening half. Belgium, which led 2-0, was declared champion. But who would take home the silver? A playoff was required, but France refused to play because a good portion of its squad already 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. No hats off, yet: A hat-trick has never been scored in an Olympic final, although six players have managed to score two goals in a gold-medal match. That includes England's Gordon Hoare (1912) and Denmark's Anton Olsen, the only multiple goalscorer on a losing side in the championship game, Annibale Frossi (1936), Sweden's Gunnar Gren (1948), Hungary's Antal Dunai and IvanMencsel (1968) and Poland's Kaz Deyna (1972). Rain, rain go away: In the wrong type of a hat-trick, the gold-medal matches of the 1972 (Munich), 1976 (Montreal) and 1980 (Moscow) Olympics were played in the rain.
The power of the king: Only minutes after King Juan Carlos of Spain and the royal family entered Nou Camp Stadium in 1992, Spain scored its first goal of the gold-medal match - by Fernandez Abelardo. It was the equalizer of what proved to be a 3-2 triumph by Spain.
The World Cup and the Olympics
Only eight players can claim the feat of being Olympic and World Cup champions. Jose Nasazzi, Jose Leonadro Andrade, Hector Scarone and Pedro Cea from Uruguay's 1924 and 1928 Olympic gold-medal winning teams and the 1930 World Cup champions, and Alvaro Gestido in 1928 and 1930. Italy's Alfredo Foni, Pietro Rava and Ugo Locatelli played for the 1936 Olympic titlists andthe 1938 World Cup champions. There have been 28 players who have played in an Olympic and World Cup final: Jose Nasazzi, Jose Leandro Andrade, Hector Scarone and Pedro Cea played for Uruguay in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics, and the 1930 World Cup. Fellow countryman Alvaro Gestido did the same in 1928 and 1930; Italy's Alfredo Foni, Pietro Rava and Ugo Locatelli played in the 1936 Olympic title match and for the 1938 World Cup title; Argentina's Fernando Paternoster, Juan Evaristo, Luis Monti and Manuel Ferreira played in the 1928 Olympics and the 1930 World Cup (Monti also played for Italy in the 1934 World Cup final); Sweden's Nils Liedhold and Gunnar Gren played in the 1948 Olympics and the 1958 World Cup final; Hungary's Gyula Groscis, Jeno Buzansky, Mihaly Lantos, Jozsef Bozsik, Gyula Lorany, Jozsef Zakarias, Zoltan Czibor, Sandor Kocsis, Nandor Hidegkuti and Ferenc Puskas, who performed in the 1952 Games and the 1954 World Cup Final; Brazil's Claudio Taffarel, Jorginho, Bebeto and Romario, who re! presented their country in the 1988 Olympics and the 1994 World Cup Final. Only three players have scored in Olympic and World Cup Finals: Uruguay's Pedro Cea, who did it in the 1924 Olympics and 1930 World Cup, and Hungary's Ferenc Puskas and teammate Zoltan Czibor, who accomplished the feat at the 1952 Olympics and the 1954 World Cup. Romario, who scored for Brazil in its gold-medal match loss to the Soviet Union in 1988, could not duplicate the feat at the 1994 World Cup Final. Four stadiums have hosted Olympic and World Cup final matches: Wembley Stadium, London, England (1948 Olympics and 1966 World Cup), Olympic Stadium, Munich, Germany (1972 Olympics and 1974 World Cup), Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico (1968 Olympics, 1970 and 1986 World Cup), Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. (1984 Olympics and 1994 World Cup).