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Everything You Need to Know About Soccer at the Beijing Olympics in 2008

Jun 14, 2008
Undoubtedly soccer is the world's biggest game. Sure the World Cup, F.A Cup or UEFA cup may draw more interest but for all the teams competing in this year's Beijing Olympics there will be some very determined players who want to win that gold medal.

The soccer games of the Beijing Olympic Games will be held from August 6-23, 2008 in five cities including the host city of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin and Qinhuangdao. The finals for men and women will be held in Beijing where three venues are located: the Workers' Stadium, the Olympic Sports Center Stadium and the National Stadium. The venues outside Beijing are: Shanghai Stadium, Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, Shenyang Olympic Sport Center Stadium, and Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium. These state of the art stadiums will provide spectators with a great facility to enjoy the games.

Football was first introduced in 1900 and 1904 as an exhibition sport and became the first team sport included in the Olympic Games. Since 1908, the sport has been held at every Olympic Games with the exception of 1932 in Los Angeles. The European teams dominated the Olympics until 1992, when Spain became the last European team to win a gold medal.

Women's football was introduced in 1996 in Atlanta where the USA won the gold medal in and then again in Athens in 2004.

The competition allows for three players over the age of 23 to compete. Although a prestigious event, many of the world best players will not play due to contractual obligations with their own professional teams. They also do not want to risk getting an injury and often have pressure placed on them by their team managers who do not want them to play in the games.

The sixteen qualified nations for the men's event are: Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia, Honduras, United States of America, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, and the host country of China.

The four men's groups are as follows: Group A includes Cote d'Ivoire, Argentina, Australia and Serbia. Group B includes the Netherlands, Nigeria, Japan and Argentina. Group C includes China, New Zealand, Brazil and Belgium. Group D includes Korea Republic, Cameroon, and Honduras.

The tournament will be organized into group stages until they reach the quarter-final round will result in losing teams being knocked out of the competition. All four teams that make the semi finals will determine who wins the medals with the fourth team missing out.

Group stage matches will begin on August 7th with the quarter finals on August 16th, the semi finals on August 19th, the loser's final on August 22nd and the winner's final to be held on August 23rd.

The women's tournament consists of 12 teams, four more than they had in Athens. Group E consists of China, Sweden, Argentina and Canada. Group F includes Korea DPR, Nigeria, Germany, and Brazil. Group G includes Norway, United States of America, Japan and New Zealand.

Most of the major soccer games will be broadcasted by the television networks. However, as usual each country will be likely to choose only those games where they have their own national team competing.
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For more information on the Olympic 2008 Games in Beijing you should visit Olympic Games Preview
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