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How Many Soccer Teams Are In The Olympics?

How many soccer teams are in the Olympics?
In the picture above, we explain the answer that there are 16 teams in the Summer Olympics for Men's soccer. There are also 12 teams in the Summer Olympics for Women's soccer.
Men's Soccer Teams16 men's soccer teams participate in the Summer Olympics.
Women's Soccer Teams12 women's soccer teams participate in the Summer Olympics.

Table of Contents

How are teams divided?

The teams are divided into four divisions with four teams in each division. Each team plays the other three teams in their smaller bracket, and the top two teams from each pool move onto the group stage (8 teams in total - 2 teams from each of the four divisions).

How do teams make the Olympics?

To make the Olympics, most of these teams must participate in pre-tournament qualification games and special tournaments specific to their regions. Teams such as Brazil, Germany, England, and France usually have an easier time advancing to the world stage.

Prior Tournaments and Point Systems

Here were the groups for the 2016 Rio Olympics:

Group ABrazil, South Africa, Iraq, Denmark
Group BSweden, Colombia, Nigeria, Japan
Group CFiji, Kora, Mexico, Germany
Group DHonduras, Portugal, Argentina, Algeria

For the group round, 3 points are earned for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a defeat. Wins are hard to come by, and a 3 point win in the preliminary round is huge for a country.

The most amount of points to have attained after the divisional/pool round is 9 points (this is if the team goes 3-0). If a team wins a game, draws a game, and loses a game, they will finish with 4 points.

Above is the bracket from the 2016 Rio Olympics after the pool round. The top two teams from each four team bracket made the final elite eight, and competition was entertaining and intense.

Brief Overview of the Rules

Each game consists of two 45-minute halves. If the game is scoreless or tied after 90 minutes, a 30 minute extra-time period is played (two 15-minute halves). If the game is still scoreless or tied, a five-player penalty shootout will determine the outcome of the contest.

soccer game clock


  • "16 Team Tournament Men." International Olympic Committee, 14 Dec. 2018,

Accessed 20 Feb. 20.


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