The road to the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio de Janeiro 2016 began back in September 2014 at the Copa America Femenina in Ecuador. With tournament winners Brazil already guaranteed a berth as Olympic hosts, CONMEBOL’s sole qualifying place went to runners-up Colombia.
With five other confederations set to send representatives to Rio, FIFA.com explains how and when the remaining berths will be decided.
Next to see action will be the AFC, whose qualifying tournament is scheduled to last almost a year. The first round begins on 9 March 2015 with a second to follow in September. The third and final phase, which will decide Asia’s two representatives in Brazil, will take place between 29 February and 9 March 2016.
As UEFA will not host a specific qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympics, its representatives will be the three best-placed European sides at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, which runs from 6 June to 5 July 2015. The nations with even more incentive to do well in Canada are Germany, Spain, France, England, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway.
Shortly after this year’s flagship event in women’s football, the focus turns to Oceania and specifically Papua New Guinea, where an OFC play-off representative will be decided at the Pacific Games between 4-17 July. The winner will then tackle New Zealand for Oceania's lone berth to Rio.
By contrast, the road to qualification in Africa will be much longer, with four rounds needed to reach Rio. The final one, set to conclude on 18 October 2015, will decide CAF’s two participants at the Games.
Two more berths will be filled in early 2016, when CONCACAF stages its qualifying tournament between 10-21 February in the USA.
The full complement of 12 competing nations will be known in March 2016 on the conclusion of the aforementioned Asian qualifying tournament.