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15 Jun 2004
IOC News

Olympic Football ready to kick off

The draws for the men’s and women’s Olympic football tournaments were made this week at the headquarters of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad – ATHENS 2004 (ATHOC). The draws were carried out with the help of French World Cup winner Christian Karembeu. They saw the host nation Greece avoid the pre-tournament favourites in the men’s draw, but fall into the same group as the Sydney silver medallists, the USA, in the women’s competition.

Group B – Group of death?
The manager of the Greek Olympic team, Stratos Apostolakis, was happy to have avoided group B in the Olympic draw, as he considered it the most difficult one of the men’s tournament. The draw saw his Greek side matched up against Mali, South Korea and Mexico in group A. Group B, the “group of death”, sees Paraguay, Italy, Ghana and Japan going head-to-head, while group C will be a hard-fought affair between the teams of Argentina, Tunisia, Australia and Serbia and Montenegro, who all have serious chances of being able to claim a spot in the quarter-finals. Finally, in group D, Portugal will start as group favourites, but Morocco, Costa Rica and Iraq will undoubtedly have other ideas.

Stiff competition in the women’s groups
The draw for the women’s Olympic football competition produced three high quality groups, with the women’s World Cup winners and runners-up, Germany and Sweden respectively, being drawn in the first two groups, and Sydney 2000 silver medallists, the USA, looking like the favourites to win the third group. Group E sees Sweden taking on Japan and Nigeria, with Germany facing up to the might of China and Mexico in Group F. The third group of the draw, group G, is a group of four containing the host nation, Greece, the USA, Brazil and Australia.

Football at the Games
During the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the men’s and women’s football competitions will be hosted in five Olympic cities: Athens, Volos, Heraklio, Thessaloniki and Patras. Competition events will take place from 11 August, two days before the Opening Ceremony, to 29 August 2004. The finals will be held in Athens. In total, 16 men’s teams will compete in four rounds (preliminaries, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals), and 10 women’s teams in four rounds (quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals).
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