Olympic Games - Great Britain
- The first Olympic football tournaments were little more than demonstration events, and they were not contested by countries as they are today (despite the annoying insistence of the IOC and FIFA on retrospectively re-classifying victories by nation). Upton Park were the first winners at the 1900 Olympics in Paris, while Canadian side Galt FC were victorious at the 1904 St Louis Games – out of a field of 32 (exclusively US and Canadian) teams.
It was at the 1908 London Olympics that competitors were first classified by nation, and then only six nations entered the football event. Great Britain waltzed through that tournament, winning all three games with a combined score of 18-1 including the final against Denmark 2-0. In Stockholm in 1912 they also won gold, again beating the Danish 4–2.
All footballers, in accordance with the early Olympic spirit, were necessarily amateurs and the rise of professionalism in the English and Scottish game during the first quarter of the 20th century meant that the British side slowly diminished in international experience. The 1920 Games in Antwerp saw Great Britain, whose team fielded only two players with previous international caps, eliminated in the first round by Norway. The team was withdrawn from the 1924 and 1928 games following a clash with FIFA over the exact definition of amateurism.
A GB team returned during the 30s and quarter-finals in Berlin in 1936 and Melbourne in 1956 (sandwiching a London semi-final in 1948) were highlights, while the 3-5 loss to minnows Luxembourg in the preliminary qualifier in 1952 was a galling defeat even for an amateur team. The last Olympic tournament for which a British team qualified was Rome in 1960, where they didn’t get out of the group stage. Failed attempts to qualify followed for the 1964 Tokyo, 1968 Mexico City and 1972 Munich Games.
Initially the Home Nations had agreed that the English FA should orchestrate the GB Olympic football team, but since the FA scrapped the distinction between amateur and professional in 1974, no further British teams have been entered. The return of Team GB for the London 2012 Games initially caused alarm for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who feared that their unique independence and their position on the rule-making body IFAB would be in jeopardy. While UEFA and FIFA were at pains to point out that the staus quo would not be affected they declined the opportunity to be involved and allowed the English FA, once again, to run the team during the tournement. Their fears were somewhat allayed when after a promising group stage, Team GB were eliminated on penalties by South Koera in the quarter-finals.
As qualifying for the next Olympic games involves results from the Under-21 European Chamiponship in 2015 where the home nations play individually it would be unlikely if we see Team GB in Rio or, indeed, again.
All Time Statistics
- Final Tournament
Olympic Games - Full Match List - 39 Records
- Sweden, 20th Oct 1908, 12 - 1 at White City Stadium, London (London 1908 - First Round)
- Netherlands, 22nd Oct 1908, 4 - 0 at White City Stadium, London (London 1908 - Semi Final)
- Denmark, 24th Oct 1908, 2 - 0 at White City Stadium, London (London 1908 - Final)
- Hungary, 30th Jun 1912, 7 - 0 at Olympiastadion, Stockholm (Stockholm 1912 - Second Round)
- Finland, 2nd Jul 1912, 4 - 0 at Olympiastadion, Stockholm (Stockholm 1912 - Semi Final)
- Denmark, 4th Jul 1912, 4 - 2 at Olympiastadion, Stockholm (Stockholm 1912 - Final)
- Norway, 28th Aug 1920, 1 - 3 at Olympic Stadium, Antwerp (Antwerp 1920 - First Round)
- China, 6th Aug 1936, 2 - 0 at Mommsenstadion, Berlin (Berlin 1936 - First Round)
- Poland, 8th Aug 1936, 4 - 5 at Poststadion, Berlin (Berlin 1936 - Quarter Final)
- Netherlands, 31st Jul 1948, 4 - 3 at Highbury, London (London 1948 - First Round)
- France, 5th Aug 1948, 1 - 0 at Craven Cottage, London (London 1948 - Quarter Final)
- Yugoslavia, 11st Aug 1948, 1 - 3 at Wembley Stadium, London (London 1948 - Semi Final)
- Denmark, 13th Aug 1948, 3 - 5 at Wembley Stadium, London (London 1948 - 3rd Place Playoff)
- Luxembourg, 16th Jul 1952, 3 - 5 at Lahden kisapuisto, Lahti (Helsinki 1952 - Preliminary Round)
- Bulgaria, 23rd Oct 1955, 0 - 2 at Vasil Levski National Stadion, Sofia (Melbourne 1956 - Pan-Continential Preliminary Qualifing)
- Bulgaria, 12th May 1956, 3 - 3 at Wembley Stadium, London (Melbourne 1956 - Pan-Continential Preliminary Qualifing)
- Thailand, 26th Nov 1956, 9 - 0 at Olympic Park, Melbourne (Melbourne 1956 - First Round)
- Bulgaria, 30th Nov 1956, 1 - 6 at Olympic Park, Melbourne (Melbourne 1956 - Quarter Final)
- Rep of Ireland, 21st Nov 1959, 3 - 2 at Goldstone Ground, Brighton (Rome 1960 - Qualifying Group 5)
- Rep of Ireland, 13th Mar 1960, 3 - 1 at Dalymount Park, Dublin (Rome 1960 - Qualifying Group 5)
- Netherlands, 2nd Apr 1960, 5 - 1 at Oosterenkstadion, Zwolle (Rome 1960 - Qualifying Group 5)
- Netherlands, 13th Apr 1960, 2 - 2 at White Hart Lane, London (Rome 1960 - Qualifying Group 5)
- Brazil, 26th Aug 1960, 3 - 4 at Stadio di Ardenza, Livorno (Rome 1960 - Group 2 - Game 1)
- Italy, 29th Aug 1960, 2 - 2 at Stadio Flaminio, Rome (Rome 1960 - Group 2 - Game 2)
- Formosa, 1st Sep 1960, 3 - 2 at Stadio Olimpico Comunale, Grosseto (Rome 1960 - Group 2 - Game 3)
- Iceland, 7th Sep 1963, 6 - 0 at Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavik (Tokyo 1964 - Qualifying Group 5 - Preliminary Round)
- Iceland, 14th Sep 1963, 4 - 0 at Plough Lane, London (Tokyo 1964 - Qualifying Group 5 - Preliminary Round)
- Greece, 12th Feb 1964, 2 - 1 at Stamford Bridge, London (Tokyo 1964 - Qualifying Group 5 - 1st Round)
- Greece, 8th Apr 1964, 1 - 4 at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus (Tokyo 1964 - Qualifying Group 5 - 1st Round)
- West Germany, 25th Oct 1967, 2 - 0 at Rosenaustadion, Augsberg (Mexico City 1968 - Qualifying Group 4 - 2nd Round)
- West Germany, 8th Nov 1967, 0 - 1 at Claremont Road, Hendon (Mexico City 1968 - Qualifying Group 4 - 2nd Round)
- Spain, 27th Mar 1968, 0 - 1 at Estadio de la Nova Creu Alta, Sabadell (Mexico City 1968 - Qualifying Group 4 - Final - 1st Leg)
- Spain, 10th Apr 1968, 0 - 0 at White City Stadium, London (Mexico City 1968 - Qualifying Group 4 - Final - 2nd Leg)
- Bulgaria, 24th Mar 1971, 1 - 0 at Wembley Stadium, London (Munich 1972 - Qualifying - First Round - 1st Leg)
- Bulgaria, 5th May 1971, 0 - 5 at Vasil Levski National Stadion, Sofia (Munich 1972 - Qualifying - First Round - 2nd Leg)
- Senegal, 26th Jul 2012, 1 - 1 at Old Trafford, Manchester (London 2012 - Group A Game 1)
- UAE, 29th Jul 2012, 3 - 1 at Wembley Stadium, London (London 2012 - Group A Game 2)
- Uruguay, 1st Aug 2012, 1 - 0 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (London 2012 - Group A Game 3)
- South Korea, 4th Aug 2012, 1 - 1 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (London 2012 - Quarter Final)