Olympic Football Competition Format and Dates
Sixteen teams take part in the Olympics football tournament, competing for gold, silver and bronze medals. The teams are split into four groups of four, A, B, C and D and the top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stages.
The groups are as follows:
- Group A – Japan, South Africa, Mexico, France
- Group B – New Zealand, Romania, South Korea, Honduras
- Group C – Spain, Argentina, Australia, Egypt
- Group D – Germany, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Saudi Arabia
The winners of Group A will take on the Group B runners-up in the quarterfinals and they will face either the Group C winners or Group D runners-up in the last four. The team that finishes second in Group A goes to the other half of the draw and will face the winners of Group B in the last eight, before a semi-final meeting with either the Group D winners or the team that finishes second in Group C. The winners of the semi-finals then play the Gold Medal Match and the losers of the two last four games face each other in the Bronze Medal Match.
The group stages will begin on July 22 and all 16 teams play on the opening day. The highlights of the day are likely to be Japan vs South Africa and Brazil vs Germany. The group stages end on July 28 and the quarterfinals take place three days later. The gold medal match will be on August 7 and the bronze medal match the next day.
Olympic Football Rules
Usually, the Olympic men’s football tournament is restricted to players under the age of 23 with three exceptions. However, as the 2020 games were delayed by a year, FIFA opted to keep in place the original restriction of players born on or after January 1 1997, so at this year’s Olympics players must be under the age of 24. Furthermore, normally the squads are limited to eighteen players, but this year it has been expanded to twenty-two players.
Each team is allowed to choose three overage players, which means that there are some interesting names taking part in the tournament. For example, Japan has chosen Stuttgart midfielder Wataru Endo as one of their overage players while Mexico has selected veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. There are also some well-known players in New Zealand’s squad, such as Brentford’s Winston Reid and Burnley striker Chris Wood.
Playing for Spain will be Dani Olmo of RB Leipzig, Real Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal and keeper Unai Simon, who were all involved at Euro 2020. However, they are not overage players; Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio, Arsenal’s Dani Cabellos and Sociedad’s Mikel Morino are taking those spots.
Veteran former Barcelona defender Dani Alves is Brazil’s best-known player, while the Ivory Coast will feature Manchester United’s Eric Bailly, Franck Kessie of AC Milan and former Leeds forward Max Gradel.
Olympic Football Betting Markets
If you regularly bet on football then you know that there are numerous markets available on every match, often more than one hundred of them. This means that you can bet on almost every aspect of a football match and can put together some advanced betting strategies. Here we will introduce you to some of the most popular betting markets.
Gold Medal Winner
This is the most basic outright bet you can place. It is a bet on which country will win the gold medal. As long as your chosen team wins gold, then you will win your bet.
1X2 Full Time
This is the most basic bet you can place on an individual match. It is a bet on a team to win or a draw. Once again, as long as you pick the correct result, then you will win the bet.
Asian Handicaps are very popular football bets. The favourite to win the match is assigned a handicap that they must overcome. However, the market is designed so as to remove the possibility of a draw. The teams are given a plus or minus number that represents the handicap, it may be a whole-goal handicap, such as -3 or a half-goal, such as -1.5.
For example, if Team A is -2 and Team B is +3, these figures are then applied to the score. If Team A wins by at least 3 goals then they will win the bet. If Team B lose by 4 goals or more, then they lose the bet.
Another example with half-goal handicaps may be Team A -2.5 and Team B +2.5. This means that Team A need to win by at least three goals to win, while Team B need to lose by no more than two goals.
European Handicap markets are very similar to Asian Handicaps. The only difference is that they only ever use whole numbers and they allow for the possibility of a draw. For example, Team A -2, Draw -2, Team B +2. If you bet on Team A, then you win if they win by at least three goals. If you bet on a draw then you win if Team A loses by just two goals. If you Bet on Team B, you win if they win, draw, or lose by two goals.
You can use this market to enhance your betting strategy. It allows you to bet on the result of the first half and/or the second half. It is very similar to the 1X2 Full Time bet but only applies to one half of the match.
This market usually has slightly lower odds because it is designed to make it easier for you to win your bet. Your bet will cover two of the three possible outcomes of a match, home team win or draw, away team win or draw, or home team win or away team win. You win the bet as long as you have picked one of the right combinations.
All three of these betting markets relate to the score. The most basic is Correct Score; it requires you to pick the exact score at the endo of the match and as this is far from easy, it offers very generous odds.
The scorecast bet requires you to pick a goal scorer and the correct score. For example, you think team A will win 1-0 with the goal scored by player X.
A wincast bet requires you to pick a goal scorer and the outcome of the match rather than the correct score. For example, Player A to score and that team to win, or the game to end in a draw.
This is a bet on a specific player to score. You will find many similar markets, such as first goal scorer or last goal scorer. If you think a player is looking particularly dangerous, then they can be very good value markets to take advantage of.
You will find many bets based upon the over/under principle. You are simply betting on whether something will happen more or less than the provided number. For example, you can bet on the number of goals, corners, yellow cards, and so on. You might see a market suggesting 2.5 goals, so you bet over if you think there will be three or more or under if you think there will be two or less.
Draw No Bet
This market requires you to bet on the outcome of a match but it doesn’t allow for draws. If the game ends in a draw then your bet is returned.
This is when you combine multiple bets into one. You need all parts of your bet to win, which means that parlays are hard to win and offer odds that are more generous. For example, you could combine a correct score bet with a 1X2 full time bet.
Player Proposition Bets
These are bets on individual players in a match. You may be able to bet on a player to score, to be the last to score, to be sent off, to receive a yellow card, and so on. It is worth taking a careful look at these markets as there are often some fantastic opportunities.
In-Play or Live betting is a great way to make watching a match even more exciting. It allows you to place bets while the game is taking place. You can use many of the markets described above as well as special next to markets. For example, you can bet on the next team or player to score, the next to receive a yellow card, the next corner, and so on. The odds are updated in real time, so by following them closely you may spot some fantastic opportunities.