|Host country||United Kingdom|
|Dates||25 July - 11 August|
|Teams||16 (men) + 12 (women) (from 6 confederations)|
|Venue(s)||6 (in 6 host cities)|
|Champions|| Mexico (men)|
United States (women)
|Runners-up|| Brazil (men)|
|Third place|| South Korea (men)|
|Fourth place|| Japan (men)|
|Goals scored||146 (2.52 per match)|
|Attendance||2,186,150 (37,692 per match)|
The association football tournament at the 2012 Summer Olympics was held from 25 July to 11 August, and was the only sport to begin before the official opening day of the Olympic Games, two days before the opening ceremony. It was also the only sport to be held at multiple venues outside London (the host city of the Olympics), with Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Coventry and Cardiff all hosting matches. The finals were played at Wembley Stadium. Associations affiliated with FIFA were invited to send their senior women's and men's under-23 national teams to participate; men's teams were allowed to augment their squads with three players over the age of 23. Five hundred and four football players competed for two sets of gold medals.
For these games, the men competed in a 16-team tournament and the women in a 12-team tournament. The draw for the tournament took place on 24 April 2012.
There were six stadiums that hosted matches: The stadiums represent London itself and South East England, the English Midlands, North West England and North East England in England, as well as Scotland and Wales.
|Wembley Stadium||Old Trafford|
|Capacity: 90,000||Capacity: 76,212|
|Cardiff||Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Millennium Stadium||St. James' Park|
|Capacity: 74,500||Capacity: 52,387|
|Hampden Park||Ricoh Arena|
|Capacity: 52,103||Capacity: 32,500|
NOTE: Ricoh Arena was known as the City of Coventry Stadium due to the no-commercialization policy.
|P||Preliminaries||¼||Quarterfinals||½||Semifinals||B||3rd place play-off||F||Final|
|Event?/Date ->||Wed 25||Thu 26||Fri 27||Sat 28||Sun 29||Mon 30||Tue 31||Wed 1||Thu 2||Fri 3||Sat 4||Sun 5||Mon 6||Tue 7||Wed 8||Thu 9||Fri 10||Sat 11|
|Means of qualification||Date of completion||Venue1||Berths||Qualified||Senior team|
|Host nation||-||1||Great Britain||43|
|AFC Preliminary Competition||29 March 2012||Various (home and away)||3|| South Korea
United Arab Emirates
|CAF Preliminary Competition||10 December 2011||Morocco||3|| Gabon
|CONCACAF Preliminary Competition||2 April 2012||United States||2|| Mexico
|CONMEBOL Preliminary Competition||12 February 2011||Peru||2|| Brazil
|OFC Preliminary Competition||25 March 2012||New Zealand||1||New Zealand||95|
|UEFA Preliminary Competition||25 June 2011||Denmark||3|| Spain
|AFC-CAF play-off||23 April 2012||Great Britain||1||Senegal||61|
|Means of qualification||Date of completion||Venue1||Berths||Qualified||FIFA Ranking2|
|Host nation||-||1||Great Britain||92|
|AFC Preliminary Competition||11 September 2011||China||2|| Japan
|CAF Preliminary Competition||22 October 2011||-||2|| South Africa
|CONCACAF Preliminary Competition||29 January 2012||Canada||2|| United States
|CONMEBOL Preliminary Competition||21 November 2010||Ecuador||2|| Brazil
|OFC Preliminary Competition||4 April 2012||-||1||New Zealand||23|
|(UEFA) 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup||17 July 2011||Germany||2|| Sweden
A men's football team representing Great Britain competed in the Olympics until 1972, albeit failing to qualify for the main tournament after 1960. Great Britain did not enter a football team in the Olympics for the rest of the 1970s, plus the entire 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
On 24 August 2008, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested that the presence of a GB team at the 2012 games was "vital". He said that he had approached Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to coach such a team. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations opposed such a move in case it would affect their status within the governing body of football, FIFA.
On 29 May 2009, after last-ditch talks prompted by a FIFA deadline to settle the row, the four associations sent a letter to FIFA stating that while the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations would not participate in a unified UK men's or women's teams at the Olympic Games, they would not prevent England from fielding teams under that banner.
However, Britain's FIFA Vice-President Jim Boyce stated that Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy, Charlie Adam and other non-English players would have the legal right to be considered for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics. The deal among the four "home nations" was challenged by the British Olympic Association. Boyce said there was no legal restriction as to why a player from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland could be stopped from playing.
Ultimately, five Welsh players were included in the 2012 Great Britain Olympic football squad, with Ryan Giggs - included as one of the three players over the age of 23 permitted - selected as team captain. Giggs would score during the tournament, in a 3-1 defeat of the United Arab Emirates at Wembley. None of the Great Britain men's football squad came from Scotland or Northern Ireland.
This tournament differs from other modern major international football tournaments, in that head-to-head records is not the primary way to break ties.
The ranking of the teams in each group shall be determined as follows:
|1||Great Britain||3||2||1||0||5||2||+3||7||Qualified for knockout stage|
|4||United Arab Emirates||3||0||1||2||3||6||−3||1|
|1||Mexico||3||2||1||0||3||0||+3||7||Qualified for knockout stage|
|1||Brazil||3||3||0||0||9||3||+6||9||Qualified for knockout stage|
|1||Japan||3||2||1||0||2||0||+2||7||Qualified for knockout stage|
|Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Gold medal match|
|A1||Great Britain||1 (4)|
|B2||South Korea (p)||1 (5)|
|B1||Mexico||3||Bronze medal match|
The same restrictions used for recent Olympiads are applied, in which each squad is to consist of eighteen players, of which no more than three may be over the age of 23 before the beginning of the next year. In the case of the 2012 Summer Olympics, this restricts players born before 1 January 1989.
|1||Great Britain||3||3||0||0||5||0||+5||9||Qualified for the quarter-finals|
|1||Sweden||3||1||2||0||6||3||+3||5||Qualified for the quarter-finals|
|1||United States||3||3||0||0||8||2||+6||9||Qualified for the quarter-finals|
|Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Gold medal match|
|G1||United States (aet)||4|
|G2||France||1||Bronze medal match|
There were no age restrictions in the women's tournament.
|Totals (6 nations)||2||2||2||6|
|Men|| Mexico (MEX)
Jesús Corona (captain)
Giovani dos Santos
José Antonio Rodríguez
| Brazil (BRA)
Thiago Silva (captain)
| South Korea (KOR)|
Koo Ja-cheol (captain)
|Women|| United States (USA)
Christie Rampone (captain)
| Japan (JPN)
Aya Miyama (captain)
| Canada (CAN)|
Christine Sinclair (captain)
After South Korea defeated Japan in the Bronze Medal match at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 10 August, South Korean player Park Jong-woo walked around the field holding a banner with a message written in Korean, " ?!" (dokdo neun uri ttang lit. "Dokdo is our territory!). As both IOC and FIFA statutes prohibit any political statements being made by athletes at their respective sporting events, the IOC barred Park from the bronze medal ceremony and did not permit him to receive his medal. In addition, it asked FIFA to discipline Park, and stated that it may decide on further sanctions at a later date. FIFA failed to reach a conclusion on the case at a meeting at its Zürich headquarters held on 5 October, and the disciplinary committee discussed the case again on the following week, then failed to reach a verdict again. The case was heard again by the committee on 20 November, and FIFA decided on 3 December to suspend Park for two matches after he was considered to have breached the FIFA Disciplinary Code and the Regulations of the Olympic Football Tournaments. FIFA also imposed a warning on the Korea Football Association and reminded it of its obligation to properly instruct its players on all the pertinent rules and applicable regulations before the start of any competition, in order to avoid such incident in the future. The Korea Football Association was warned that should incidents of such nature occur again in the future, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee may impose harsher sanctions on the Korea Football Association.
Iran's women's team and three Jordanian players were banned during the second round of the Asian qualification tournament due to not adhering to FIFA dress code; the players were allowed to play while covering their head in the first round. FIFA banned the hijab in 2007, although FIFA now allows the hijab to be worn after overturning the 2007 decision in 2012.
Following the South Korean flag being put on display on the stadium screen at Hampden Park when the teams were being announced before the Colombia versus North Korea women's match, the North Korea team protested against this action by refusing to take to the pitch. As a result of the wrong flag being displayed, the kick-off was delayed.
During the semi-final match between Canada and the United States, a time-wasting call was made against the Canadian goalkeeper, Erin McLeod, when she held the ball longer than the allowed six seconds. This violation is called in international play, and is intended to be used during instances of time-wasting. As a result, the American side was awarded an indirect free-kick in the box. On the ensuing play, Canada was penalized for a handball in the penalty box, with the American team being awarded a penalty kick, which Abby Wambach converted to tie the game at 3-3. The Americans went on to win the match in extra time, advancing to the gold medal game. After the match, Canada forward Christine Sinclair stated, "the ref decided the result before the game started." FIFA responded by stating that the refeering decisions were correct and saying it was considering disciplinary action against Sinclair, but that any disciplinary action would be postponed until after the end of the tournament.