Women’s soccer will kick-off the 2012 London Olympics. Preliminary matches begin on July 25, 2012, two days prior to opening ceremonies.
All 12 competing women’s teams will be in action that day, utilizing Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry, England and Hampden Park in Glascow, Scotland. The men’s competition begins one day later when all 16 competing men’s teams take the field. Opening Ceremonies take place on July 27 at the new Olympic Stadium.
Preliminary matches for the women continue on July 28 and July 31 before the quarterfinals begin on August 3. The semifinals will take place August 6, with one at Wembley Stadium and one at Old Trafford in Manchester. The medal games take place August 9, 2012, with the bronze medal match in Coventry preceding the gold medal match that will take place at Wembley Stadium.
Check out the full schedule here. The Opening Ceremony is July 27 and the Closing Ceremony is August 12.
Unlike the men’s competition that is limited to U-23 teams (with three exceptions for older players), the women’s competition allows for full senior national teams to compete. Here is how the 12 spots in the women’s competition will be filled:
Region (allotted slots): Qualification
UEFA (2): Will use the top two European finishers at the 2011 Women’s World Cup as Olympic contestants
CONCACAF (2): Qualifying tournament in Canada expected in early 2012
CONMEBOL (2): Brazil and Colombia already qualified through Sudamericano Femenino tournament
CAF (2): Qualifying tournament expected
AFC (2): Qualifying tournament expected
Oceania (1): Qualifying tournament expected
Britain qualifies automatically as the host nation. For the debate on Britain v. England being the host team, see this BBC article.
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