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Almost one hundred thousand spectators filled the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona to watch the host nation take on Poland for an Olympic gold medal in football. Wojciech Kowalczyk of Poland scored the opening goal of the game just before half time, but Abelardo Fernández equalised with a goal for the host nation after half time. Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who presided over the opening ceremony of the Games, was all smiles alongside fellow Spaniard and IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was born in Barcelona, when Spain went 2-1 up. Francisco Miguel Narváez Machón, better known as ‘Kiko’,scored twice in the last 18 minutes of the match to land the host nation a famous 3-2 victory and Team Gold.
Having automatically qualified for the Under-23 tournament as host nation, the Spanish team proved its right to compete alongside the world’s best, finishing unbeaten and top of Olympic Group B ahead of Qatar, Egypt and Colombia. Spain scored fourteen goals in total, the very first against Colombia came from Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, a name soon to be synonymous with winning in the Catalan Capital. (Guardiola went on to win the UEFA Champions League title as coach of FC Barcelona.) A 1-0 quarter-final victory over Italy in 1992 took coach Vicente Miera’s Spanish team to a semi-final against Ghana in the city of Valencia, which they won 2-0.
The Football tournament at the 1992 summer Olympic Games in Barcelona was the first Under-23 competition of its kind, although football had been included as a sport in almost every Olympic Games since 1896.