By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The international governing body of football (soccer), FIFA, released the fixtures list for the 2016 Olympic football competition on Tuesday, November 10th. Seven stadiums across Brazil will host matches, with the men’s and women’s finals taking place at the Maracanã and the opening match to be played at the Olympic Stadium, both in Rio.
A women’s group match will kick off proceedings at the new Olympic stadium which is part of the Maracanã venue in Zona Norte (North Zone) on August 3rd, two days before the Games officially begin. The men’s opening game will take place in Brasília on August 4th.
A winner will be decided on August 20th in the 78,000-seat Maracanã. Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo will all also host games.
The city of Brasília has been struggling to meet the costs required to maintain its new stadium, which was built especially for the World Cup, and there were doubts over whether it would be able to host Olympic games. However it has now been decided that ten matches will be played there.
“As at London 2012, the hosts have been drawn as A1 and E1 in their respective tournaments,” FIFA said in a statement. “This means that, during the group stage, the home crowd will be able to cheer on its men in Brasília and Salvador, and its women in Rio de Janeiro and Manaus.”
So far nine nations are confirmed to play in the men’s competition: Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Fiji, Mexico and Honduras. A further seven that will make up the full sixteen teams will be selected from other tournaments that will take place before August 2016.
The women’s competition will be between twelve teams. Brazil, Colombia, Germany, France, South Africa and Zimbabwe have all qualified. Another six will be decided by tournaments yet to take place. For the full list of matches, please see here.