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 The team was withdrawn from the 1924 and 1928 games following a clash with FIFA over the exact definition of amateurism.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

    • Type
    • Played
    • Won
    • Drawn
    • Lost
    • For
    • Against
    • Final Tournament
    • 23
    • 13
    • 3
    • 7
    • 76
    • 44
    • Qualifying
    • 16
    • 8
    • 3
    • 5
    • 32
    • 23
    • Home
    • 19
    • 12
    • 5
    • 2
    • 50
    • 23
    • Away
    • 8
    • 3
    • 0
    • 5
    • 15
    • 15
    • Neutral
    • 12
    • 6
    • 1
    • 5
    • 43
    • 29
    • Total
    • 39
    • 21
    • 6
    • 12
    • 108
    • 67

Olympic Games - Full Match List - 39 Records