By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last night (Thursday, April 14th), the Rio 2016 Olympic football (soccer) tournament was mapped out at an event hosted in Rio de Janeiro by FIFA. The men’s and women’s tournaments were drawn into groups, resulting in a total of 58 matches, with 32 for the men, and 26 for the women.
Drawn into Group E, the Brazil women’s Seleção begin their road to the championship against China at the Estadio Olimpico in Rio de Janeiro on August 3rd, while the men’s Seleção kick off against South Africa at the Estadio Mane Garrincha in Brasília the following day (in Group A).
“Today is a very important day in our Olympic journey towards the 2016 Olympic Games,” said Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of COB (Brazilian Olympic Committee) and president of President of the Organizing Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“The path of our National teams are defined. As a former athlete, I don’t like to talk about medals, but I know that the fans are anxious about it. I want to register my huge support for both of our National Teams, as a Brazilian.”
Five other cities aside from Rio are hosting games in the tournament: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo. Both finals will be played at the Maracanã, with the women going for gold on the August 19th and the men on August 20th.
“Just under two years ago, Brazil hosted a magical edition of the FIFA World Cup, and it will be glorious to see these cities again at the center of the football world this August,” said Lydia Nsekera, deputy chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments, ExCo and IOC member.
“That is why I would like to express my gratitude to the Host Cities for bringing to life the legacy of that World Cup. There is no place for football like Brazil, and I can’t wait to see these six cities setting up a dream stage once again for football fans from across the globe.”
FIFA press made it clear that there is still time to buy tickets to see the Rio 2016 Olympic football matches live in person. Below are the group draw results:
Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016
Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016