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Football is one of the most important sports that’s part of the Olympic Games. It was introduced to the Olympic sports family in 1900 in Paris, but only in the men’s category. On one occasion there was no football during the Olympics, in Los Angeles in 1932. Football for women as an Olympic sport was introduced in 1996 in Atlanta.
The Maracana Stadium and the Olympic Stadium in Rio will be the center of attention. However, because of the tight schedule other stadium will also host some football action, like the Mineirao, Estadio Nacional, Arena da Amazonia, Arena Corinthians and Arena Fonte Nova.
A lot has changed in the regulations regarding the Olympic football competition. In order to make the football Olympic tournament more exciting, competitive and more attractive certain rules had to be put in place. Take for instance the rule that states all football players have to be under the age of 23, which was later changed to each team being allowed to have 3 team members older than 23. Because of this rule, you will notice that a lot of the teams that perform exceptionally well in the World Cup are not so successful in the Olympics. Then again, this is the reason why the Olympics are still attractive to football fans. In a way, it leads us to assume what national football team will be the next successful squad in the World Cup.
The most medals are awarded to the Hungarians. The Magyars have won 3 medals in 1952, 1964 and in 1968, followed by Uruguay with two gold medals in 1924 and 1928, and as of recently Argentina with two gold medals as well in 2004 and 2008. Note, the USSR also has 2 medals won in 1956 and 1988. Surprisingly, the Brazilians or commonly known as the Canarinha haven’t won a single gold medal yet.
There are 16 teams, divided into 4 groups. Each team has to play 3 games in the group stage, after which the knockout stage will commence. These 3 games will have to be played between the 4th and the 10th August. Only the top 2 teams advance to the knockout stage. The quarter finals will be played on the 13th of August, the semifinals on the 17th and the grand final will take place on the 20th of August on the legendary stadium Maracana.
Brazil, South Africa, Iraq, Denmark
Sweden, Colombia, Nigeria, Japan
Fiji, South Korea, Germany, Mexico
Honduras, Algeria, Portugal, Argentina
The host of the Summer Olympics, Brazil, is the ultimate favorite to win the gold medal, led by the famous Neymar Jr. They are set for the gold! The odds speak for itself, with an outright win at the range of 1.85 to 2.00. You better visit William Hill since they offer the odds that are on the high end at 2.00.
Germany is the 2nd in line to win the gold medal of the Olympics in Rio with odds at 7.00. Over the past decade Germany has made the Brazilians bitter, at least in football competitions. These two teams will meet for sure on their way to the finals. Mexico is seen as a worthy competitor to both of these teams, especially considering their victory over Brazil with 2-1 in 2012. You also might consider betting on Portugal and the current U21 champion Sweden. Nigeria is the most powerful African team. The Africans have had significant success due to the special rule that prevents football players older than 23 to participate in the tournament.
Thanks to the introduction of football women’s category as an Olympic sport, there’s been a surge in popularity in a selection of countries like Germany, the USA, Canada and Sweden. The undisputed favorite to win the gold medal is the USA women’s squad with 3 gold medals behind them 1 silver due to a defeat from Norway in Sydney 2000.
There are 12 teams competing in 3 groups. The best two teams of each group advance to the knockout stage, plus 2 of the best 3rd ranked teams. The quarter finals will take place on the 12th of August, whereas the grand finals will be held 4 days later. Maracana and Sao Paolo will host the finals and the match for the 3rd place respectively.
The women’s football tournament that’s part of the Olympic games is not affected by the sub 23 rule, which means the best female football players will be part of the football Olympic games. Most of the football players that were part of the World Cup 2015 in Canada will represent their home nations in Rio. The reigning world champion, the USA team is set to win their 5th gold medal. Betting on the USA women’s team can bring you prizes equal to 2.25x the bet amount, whereas a bet on Germany comes at odds of 3.75. The French squad can also become a pleasant surprise. Betting on them comes at odds of 5.50. The host of the tournament, Brazil is the 4th in line for the gold, at least according to bookmakers.
These odds can be found at 888 Sport. Bet365 tends to slightly disagree with them. That said, USA, Germany, Brazil and France come at odds at 2.20, 4.33, 7.00 and 7.50 respectively. Depending on your favorite, choose the sportsbook that suits you best!
Unfortunately, the current Olympic gold holder in the women’s category, Japan, is not part of the Rio 2016. Their absence is noticeable.