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Houghton and Scott were team-mates a...

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GB men's football team lose on penalties

Great Britain's men's football team are out of the Olympics after they were beaten 5-4 on penalties by South Korea after their quarter-final end...

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History

Team games involving kicking the ball with one’s feet have been played in various parts of the world for thousands of years.

A sample of such games includes “Tsu Chu”, a Chinese game which was played in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., “Kemari” in Japan, which appeared 500-600 years later and is still played today, the ancient Greek game “Episkyros” and the Roman “Ηarpastum”. These games had a pronounced ceremonial and symbolic character. In most cases the ball was the symbol of the sun whose “capture” would guarantee land fertility and good crops.

Football, however, was mostly developed in Britain. From the 8th to the 19th century it had a local character and the rules varied from place to place. At the end of the 19th century, sailors of the Royal Navy introduced Football to the four corners of the earth.

The year 1863 marks the beginning in the modern history of Football: the Football Association (FA) was established. Eight years later, the federation counted 50 club-members.

 

Olympic History

Men’s Football was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens. It became an official Olympic sport in the 1908 Games in London.

Nearly a century passed before women’s Football was included in the Olympic competition programme in the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Until the 1984 Olympic Games, participation was restricted to amateur players and Olympic Football was dominated by eastern European countries.

After the inclusion of professional athletes at the Olympic Games, participation rules have been a subject of debate between the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. As a result, new regulations were established specifying the age of participant athletes. The new regulations have enabled many African countries to display a rich pool of Football talents.

Technical

A Football game is conducted on 105 x 68 m rectangular grass court pitch marked by touch lines and goal lines. The pitch’s centre is a circle with a diameter  radius of 9.15 m. The area in front of the goalposts is divided into the goal area neighbouring the goalpost and the penalty area extending towards the centre.

The goalpost has a length of 7.32 m and a height of 2.44 m. A white circular dot is marked at a distance of 11 m from the goalpost’s centre for the penalty kicks. At the court’s four corners are placed 1.5 m flag posts and a 90-degree arc marks the corner area.

Each nation can bring a squad of 18 players (7 substitutes) to the Games. The men’s tournament comprises 16 teams with four pools of four teams.  The top two teams in each pool progress through to the knock-out quarter-finals.

The women’s tournament comprises 12 teams, with three pools of four teams.  The top two in each group and the two best ranked 3rd placed teams progress to the quarter-finals.

equipment

Ball

Made of leather or other suitable synthetic material with a 22 cm diameter and 450 gr weight.

Uniform

Teammates must wear the same uniform, including a shirt, shorts and socks. A goalkeeper’s colours must be different to those of the rest of his/her teammates and assistant referees.

Shinguards

Special protective cover made of plastic or other soft material and placed under an athlete’s socks to protect an athlete’s shins.

Shoes

Special shoes with spikes studs on the soles facilitate the athlete’s movement on the grass court pitch.

Goalkeeper’s gloves

Special gloves helping a goalkeeper to block the ball and defend one’s goalpost. At the same time they protect the goalkeeper’s hands.

rules

Each Football game is played by two teams of 11 players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper. During the game a team is allowed to make three substitutes from a group of seven players. No game can begin if a team has fewer than seven players. In Men’s Olympic Football, each 18-member squad must include at least 15 athletes less than 23 years of age. There is no age limit for the remaining three.   There are no age restrictions for the women’s tournament.

A Football game lasts 90 minutes, two halves of 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute half-time break. The teams’ aim is to score a goal without violating the rules of the sport. A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line between the opposite team’s goalposts. The winner is the team to score the most goals.

A referee presides over a game and is in charge of implementing the rules. Two assistant referees moving along the two touch lines facilitate the referee’s task. Before the beginning of the game, the referee tosses a coin. The winning team chooses a goalpost for the first half and the other team gets the ball at the referee’s starting whistle.

Basic laws of the game

Rule violations are penalized by the referee according to their gravity.

Direct free kick: It is called against the team whose player kicks, holds, trips, pushes an opponent or attempts these actions. The same will apply when a player handles the ball deliberately. In these cases, a player of the opposite team may perform a direct kick towards the opponent’s goalpost from the spot where the violation was committed.

Penalty

It is called when the above violations take place within the goal or penalty area, regardless of the ball’s position. The kick is made from a distance of 11 m from the team’s goalpost.

Indirect free kick: It is called when, according to the referee’s judgment, a player’s conduct is hazardous or when a player obstructs an opponent or the goalkeeper.

It is also called against a goalkeeper who holds the ball in the penalty area more than six seconds, drops and then picks up the ball without any other player coming in contact with it or touches the ball by hand after a pass from a team mate. The player making the kick can’t shoot straight to the opponent team’s goalpost, but has to first pass it on to a teammate.

Cards

Yellow: 
The referee shows a yellow card to a player for a serious foul or other offences such as persistent fouling, dissent or unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Red
: The referee shows a red card and expels an athlete from the pitch if he/she violates the code of sportsmanship, displays unfitting conduct, hits an opponent, uses a hand to block the ball and obstructs the opposite team or is shown a second yellow card at the same game.

Team HeroesEntire Team

Alex Scott is regarded as one of Great Britain’s most versatile players. Although right-back is her preferred position she has appeared across the defence, in midfield and even up front.

She has made 90 international appearances f...

Kelly Smith was the second most experienced member of Hope Powell’s 2012 Olympic team, with 111 England appearances.

Despite being hit by serious injury during her career, Smith is also England’s record goalscorer with 45 go...

Our Results

Total: 3 medals
  • 3 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Paris 1900
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 1908
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Stockholm 1912
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Antwerp 1920
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Berlin 1936
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 1948
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Helsinki 1952
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Melbourne 1956
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Rome 1960
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 2012
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
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