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The Olympics Football at Tokyo 2020 (2021) is finally announced, and fans from all over the world are holding high hopes for the upcoming season of international football.

This year, the quadrennial tournament will be hosted in Japan, Tokyo. The tournament is scheduled to start from 21st July 2021 and will continue till 7th August 2021.

If you’re an ardent football fan and are excited to know everything about the upcoming Olympics Tokyo Football 2020 (2021), here is the guide for you.

Our guide throws a light on all the uncharted information you must know before the Olympics Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 (2021) begins.

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A brief history

Since 1900, the Summer Olympics have always featured men’s football except for one occasion (1932, Los Angeles). Uruguay dominated the Olympics in the 1920s, winning gold in 1924 and 1928, which ultimately allowed them to host the first edition of the FIFA World Cup in 1930.

By now, we all must have noticed the four stars on the Le Celeste jerseys. Two of the stars signify their win in 1930 and 1950, and the other two representing their Olympic wins.

Since then, the FIFA World Cup became one of the most potent tournaments in international men’s football, and the Olympics games evolved.

This was all about the Men’s Olympic football tournament.

  • The Olympics even hosts women’s football tournaments, and its history is relatively different from the men’s Olympics football tournament.
  • It was first started in 1996, and over a span of 25 years, it has been established tremendously.
  • By winning 4 out of 6 gold medals, the United States dominated the game.
  • However, in Brazil, they suffered a loss in the quarter-finals and were triumphed over by Sweden.

Fun Fact: Did you know there will be a total of 33 games in the Olympics, and football is just one of them.

The Structure of the game

For the Olympics football men’s competition 2020 (2021), 16 teams will be in total compete in the initial round. All the teams are divided into four groups of four, in a round-robin format

From the 4 groups, the top two teams automatically move on to the knock-out stage to kickoff the quarter-finals.

For women, a total of 12 national teams will participate in the tournament. Three groups of 4 each will be made from the 12 teams. The winning top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. The two remaining spots will be filled up by the two third-best teams.

A bronze medal match will be held between the two losing semi-finalists just a day before the final match to win the gold medal.

Teams competing in the 2020 (2021) Olympic Football at Tokyo

Men’s Olympic Football tournament

  • For the men’s competition, the final 16 spots were decided on March 2021.
  • In the first game, fans will witness Mexico play France at the Tokyo Stadium on 22nd July 2021.
  • On the same day, Japan will also have a match with South Africa.

Women’s Olympic Football tournament

  • The campaign will start with the United States playing against the team that knocked them out in Rio 2016, Sweden.

To know more about the matches and the timings, visit here.

2020 (2021) Olympics Football Tournament Schedule

The first match of the Olympics Football Tournament kicks off with the Women’s tournament with three games on the same day, scheduled on July 21st, Wednesday. It is two days prior to the grand opening ceremony on July 23rd Friday.

The following day on July 22nd, Thursday, the men’s tournament begins with four matches on the same day. Throughout the game, the women’s matches follow men’s matches, and the same format usually continues.

The women’s quarter-finals are scheduled to occur on July 30th Friday, followed by men’s quarter-finals the next day. To know the details of the matches, click here

The Essence of the Sport

We all know the aim of football: score more goals than the opposition. A 90-minute game is played in two halves, and in case there is a draw, penalty shootouts and extra-time are utilized to decide the winners during the competition’s knock-out stage.

The 15 national men’s team and hosting nation, Japan, run by six continental federations, will qualify for the tournaments. For women, 11 national women’s teams, and the host nation, Japan, will qualify for the tournament in the same way as the men’s tournament.

The tournament consists of a round-robin stand following a knock-out stage. Both men and women’s teams are placed in a group of 4, with each team playing against each other at least once. Three points are scored by the team who wins, one point in case there is a draw, and the losers score no point.

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Once the winning team gets through the knock-out stage, they automatically qualify for the knock-out round, consisting of the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, and then comes in the games for winning bronze and gold medals.

Football has been a unique sport in the Olympics since the Sydney 2000 Games, where football tournaments are held even before the grand opening ceremony. This is specifically done to manage the challenging schedule and to make sure that between the matches, the players get enough time to recover.

The players require speed, stamina, and strength, and outstanding ball skills, and tactful playing to play their best. There is a referee in each game, keeping an eye for non-compliances.

If the referee witnesses any foul play on the ground, he immediately uses his yellow card to warn the player. If the same players infringe the rule the second time, the referee uses his yellow card, bringing the red card, and the player is instantly disqualified from the game.

For grave fouls, players get a red card directly, giving the competing team an advantage of playing with an extra player. If the whole squad breaches a rule, then the competing team is awarded a free-kick. There is also another rule. Anytime a player is fouled inside a penalty area, the team is automatically rewarded with an extra penalty kick.


Finally, after a year of delay, the Olympics Football tournament 2020 (2021) is starting! This season is filled with excitement, anticipation, thrill, and so much more. So grab your bowl of popcorn, make yourself comfortable on the couch and be ready to enjoy the game.