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Rio Olympics 2016: List of participating teams in football and their road to qualification

1.42K   //    04 Jul 2016, 15:07 IST
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Mexico are the current gold medal holders in the male category

The 2016 Olympics at Rio De Janeiro are almost upon us, and it's a tournament that's got people from around the world tingling with excitement. It's got a male and female version, with both editions featuring some of the best national football teams in Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The defending champions of the gold medals are the USA women's team and the Mexican men's national team - they both struck gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Also Read: How the Football tournament works, how to qualify, squad selection process

Rio Olympics 2016 - Men's Football Teams:

The 16 male national football teams have been drawn into the following four groups for the initial phase of the tournament:

Group A - Brazil, South Africa, Iraq, Denmark

Group B - Sweden, Colombia, Nigeria, Japan

Group C - Fiji, South Korea, Mexico, Germany

Group D - Honduras, Algeria, Portugal, Argentina


AFRICA (2015 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations)



Road To the Finals:  Algeria’s Chita equalized after Egypt’s Kahraba put them ahead in Senegal in the first game. Mali were the next team to be overcome, as a Traore own goal 7 minutes from time put the Algerians 2-0 to the good. The final fixture was a top-of-the-table clash, as Algeria and Nigeria played out a 0-0 stalemate.

The South Africans were up next, and Darfalou opened the scoring after 8 minutes before Benkhemassa killed the clash in the second half. In the final, Algeria & Nigeria were reunited – Nigeria scored all 3 goals in their 2-1 victory, with Oghenekaro’s penalty and 40th-minute strike cancelling Tope’s 30th-minute own goal. 



Road To the Finals: Nigeria opened their campaign against Mali, with Usman scoring between an Ajayi double before the second half awoke the Mali team, who scored 2 after the break to raise hairs but ultimately lose. Against Egypt, the Nigerians won 2 and converted 2 spot-kicks in the first half before Sobhi & Elsayed fought back for a point with 2 second-half goals. Algeria were their final opponents and they played out a 0-0 draw for the two of them to progress to the knockout stages.

Oghenekaro scored another penalty to overcome Senegal with just over 10 minutes left on the clock to send Nigeria into the final & the Olympics. There, Ogenekharoo scored a brace (including yet another penalty) to overcome the Algerians and clinch the trophy.


South Africa

Road To the Finals: Senegal’s Keita opened the scoring with a 15th minute penalty, scoring 5 minutes later to put the South Africans under real pressure. Ntshangase in turn converted a 27th minute penalty  but 3 minutes from time Sarr scored again to confirm their 3-1 defeat.

In the next fixture, South Africa were once again pegged back in the first half (by Luchanga), but Motupa and Masuku scored 3 in 12 minutes to come back superbly in a 3-2 victory. The Tunisians held on stubbornly but a Masuku shot in the 85th minute won them the 3 points in Group A. In the semi-finals, Algeria netted two goals without reply to dump the South Africans out of the tournament, before a penalty shootout ended 3-1 to the South Africans to book a consolation ticket to the Olympics.


ASIA (2016 AFC U-23 Championship)


South Korea

Road To the Finals: Moon Chang-jin opened the scoring with a penalty, before hitting a second one just after the break against Uzbekistan in the 2nd Group C match. In the second fixture, Kwon Chang-Hoon plundered a deadly first-half hatrick before goals from Seung-woo and Seung-jun rounded off a 5-0 obliteration of Yemen.

 Kim Hyun opened the scoring against the Iraqis but a late, late goal meant two points dropped. Jordan were the next team that faced the Koreans, and they too were beaten – by the slimmes margin this time. The Qatari hosts were well beaten 3-1 before the Koreans fell to the Japanese in a hotly contested final (3-2).



Road To the Finals: Iraq kicked off their campaign with 2 quickfire goals against Yemen before Humam’s goal 6 minutes from time settled a see-saw 3-2 encouter with Uzbekistan. Amjad W. snapped in an injury-time equalizer against South Korea to preserve their unbeaten record after Hyun had put the Koreans ahead in the 1st half.

The United Arab Emirates took them to extra-time before finally losing 3-1, until Japane finally beat the Iraqis in the semis. Qatar (the hosts) were then beaten off after extra-time, sealing 3rd place and a ticket to Brazil.



Road To the Finals: Group B’s first fixture saw Japan play North Korea, and before the 5th minute was ot Ueda had already put them ahead with what proved to be the match-winner. The next game was much more straight-forward, as a Kubo double in the final 15 minutes served Thailand a 4-0 rout. The final group match saw the Japanese eliminate the Saudis (2-1). Iran put up up a good fight in their quarter-final bout’s normal time, but the Japanese then proceeded to put them to the sword with 3 goals in extra time. Iraq were toppled 2-1 next, before South Korea were overcome 3-2 in the final.


EUROPE (2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship)



Road To the Finals:  Italy’s Berardi made no mistake from the spot as hit a penalty goal on the 29th minute against the Swedes. John Guidetti cancelled it out around the hour mark, leaving things finely poised until it was 4 minutes from time. Then, it was Thelin’s time to make no mistake – and he did not, winning Sweden a crucial head-to-head tie that would save them at the end.

Jesse Lingard was the English hero as he beat the Swedes 5 minutes from time to throw their qualification hopes into serious danger. Just when the Portuguese were about to extinguish them 8 minutes from time in their final fixture, the Swedes rallied and Tibbling score yet another late goal, to save themselves with 1 minute to go and pip Italy to the Olympics!


Road To the Finals: It was the Serbians who drew first blood, stunning the Germans with an 8th-minute goal before Emre Can equalized for them. In the next fixture, the Germans got some of their swagger back as Volland & Ginter combined to put a 3-0 margin between them and the Danish.

In their final fixture and looking good,  Krejci’s goal 11 minutes from that of Schulz not only held Germany to a draw, but also ensured that they were the only unbeaten team in the group and still finished second – but also on the plane to Brazil.


Road To the Finals: Joao Mario struck just around the hour mark to down the Englisman in their Group B match-up, before a 0-0 stalemate with the Italians in the second match. In their final match, Paciencia scored a late goal which should have been the winner, but for Tibling’s even later intervention (89th minute)! They advanced top of their group to the semi-finals and the Olympic Games.


Road To the Finals: Jannik Vestergard equalized minutes before the hour mark as the Czech Republic looked to run away with a 1-0 victory aganst Denmark in the Group A opener. 6 minutes from times, the comeback was complete as Sisto scored a late, late winnner to give Denmark all 3 points. In the next clash, a Kevin Volland double pinned the Danish back before the Germans added some extra gloss to their 3-0 win.

Serbia were dispatched 2-0 in the final fixture to send Denmark throguh to the semi-finals, and to the Rio 2016 Olympics.


OCEANIA (2015 Pacific Games)



Road To the Finals: Fiji started the tournament with a Chand goal to cancel out Vanuatu’s Kaltack’s 20th-minute opener, whilst Tahiti were putting an incredible 30 past FS Micronesia! If they felt a little bit goal-shy upon hearing the score, they didn’t have to worry. In the next game against the Micronesian minnows, they racked up a ridiculous score of 38-0, with Wasasala scoring 9 – only bettered by Tuivuna with 10 goals in a tortuous, 96-minute match!

Against Tahiti, the two big-hitters completely cancelled each other out in a 0-0 stalemate, while Micronesia let in their 114th goal in just 3 games! Fiji were then drawn with Papua New Guinea, who Qasevakatini scored a hat-trick against to beat 3-1 in the semi-finals. Finally, they met Vanuatu again; it took penalties to finally overcome them, with Dreola scoring the winning spot-kick.


NORTH, CENTRAL AMERICA & CARIBBEANS (2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship)



Road To the Finals: Mexico began their Group B campaign with a 4-0 defeat of the Costa Ricans, which they followed up with a 1-0 victory over Haiti courtesy of a 74th minute Lopez penalty. Lopez once again struck early before Honduras’ Elis equalized, only for Torres to put them back up 6 minutes later (2-1).

The Canadians were their semi-final opponents, and Torres opened the scoring on the 6th minute this time before Lozano confirmed the win (and their flight to Brazil) with a second-half goal. In the final, the Mexicans once again faced the Hondurans, who fell behind to an Acosta own goal just 3 minutes before the 1st-half whistle. Guzman stuck the knife in just past the hour mark.



Road To the Finals: In their first game, Lozano set the score early, just 6 minutes after the opening whistle to put Haiti behind for the rest of the 90 minutes. Costa Rica were dispatched next as Lozano once again opened the scoring before Elis confimed the win just 8 minutes from time. Elis scored again in the following match, but Mexico hit back soon after and consigned them to their first defeat. Elis wasn’t to be stopped though and his double in the semis against the United States went unresponded, sending them to Rio De Janeiro.


SOUTH AMERICA (2015 South American Youth Championships & 2016 CONCACAF – CONMEBOL play-off)



Road To the Finals: Simeone started Argentina off in terrific style, as his 1st-minute goal knocked the stuffing out of a Peru side that would lose 2-0. In the following game, Compagnucci would score just minutes from time to cancel out a Barrera penalty, before Rolon and Contreras downed their eternal enemy Brazil. Simeone scored a double against Paraguay to sandwich a Rolon strike before Driussi and Correa ensure that Argentina finished top and safe in Rio.



Road To the Finals: Colombia drew 0-0 against Paraguay in their opener. before Barrera’s 50th-minute spot-kick was cancelled out 2 minutes from time by Compagnucci. Lucumi and Borre combined to put 3 past Peru who hit one back in the next match.

A draw with Uruguay and a 3-0 defeat of the hosts meant that Colombia advanced to the CONCACAF vs CONMEBOL play-offs, where the USA where beaten 3-2 on aggregate. That final result sent Colombia to the 2016 Olympic Games.



Road To the Finals:  As the host nation, Brazil were already qualified to the Olympic Games.

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