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These nations have been among the most successful teams at the Summer Games.
Football is an integral part of the Olympic Games. The upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics will feature football among 28 other sporting events. Football is contested by both men’s and women’s national teams in separate categories.
The sport has been part of the quadrennial event since 1900. The decision to only send U-23 players came in 1992 and the inclusion of three senior players (above 23) came about later in 1996. Women’s football teams do not have this restriction, on the other hand.
Having said that, the football tournament at the Olympics is very entertaining and gives us a glimpse into the stars of tomorrow. The tournament has a rich history with several nations winning medals. Therefore, here is a look at the men’s football teams that have won the most gold medals at the Olympics:
Uruguay – 2 gold medals
Uruguay is one of two countries from South America, who feature in the top five teams to have won the most Olympic gold medals in men’s football. They won gold at the 1924 and 1928 Games successively.
The Olympics in 1924 were held in Paris and Uruguay overcame Switzerland in the final by a 3-0 scoreline. At the following edition in Amsterdam, Uruguay defeated Argentina in the gold medal match by a 2-1 score in a rematch.
Argentina – 2 gold medals
Argentina has also won two gold medals at the Olympic Games. They won their gold during the 2004 and 2008 Games. Like Uruguay, Argentina also clinched the gold in successive Olympic Games
La Albiceleste defeated Paraguay by a solitary goal in the final of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Later at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, Argentina beat Nigeria by the same scoreline, thanks to the winner from Angel Di Maria.
Soviet Union – 2 gold medals
Before its dissolution, the Soviet Union was a strong force in the world of football, specifically at the Olympics. They won gold medals on two occasions, at the 1956 and 1988 Games. Moreover, they have five overall medals, trumping Argentina’s four.
The 1956 Olympics were held in Melbourne, Australia, where the Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia 1-0 in the gold medal match. India finished fourth in this edition after losing the bronze medal match to Bulgaria. Later at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the Soviet Union beat Brazil by a 2-1 scoreline to clinch their second gold in football at the Olympics.
Great Britain – 3 gold medals
Great Britain won their three gold medals during the initial years of the football tournament at the Olympics. They won golds at the 1900, 1908 and 1912 Games.
The 1900 Games were the first to introduce football and Great Britain overcame France and Belgium to win the gold. The 1908 Olympics in London, saw them clinch gold again by beating Denmark in the final. They defended their feat in the next edition at the 1912 Olympics in Sweden.
Hungary – 3 gold medals
Hungary also have three gold medals to their name, however, they have more total medals (five) compared to Great Britain (three). The Hungarians were gold medal winners at the 1952, 1964, and 1968 Games.
Their first triumph at the 1952 Olympics held in Finland came at the expense of Yugoslavia in the gold medal match. The next achievement was at the 1964 Olympics in Japan, after Hungary defeated Czechoslovakia in the final. They defended their crown at the next edition, the 1968 Olympics in Mexico by beating Bulgaria in the final.
Overall medal winners
Despite winning the gold medal only once in 2016, Brazil have won the most number of medals overall in history. The country has won six medals including one gold medal, three silver medals and two bronze.