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Football at the 1908 Summer Olympics

At the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, Great Britain, an official football tournament between national representative selections was contested for the first time: football at the two previous games had been played between club teams.[1][2] Eight teams entered (including two from France, the main team and a "B" side)[3], although Hungary and Bohemia withdrew before the start. Denmark's Sophus "Krølben" Nielsen set a record by scoring 10 goals in a 17-1 win against France. Great Britain won the gold. Among those representing the Danish team was the famous mathematician Harald Bohr.

Football at the 1908 Summer Olympics
London 1908 Football Challenge Cup.jpg
The "Challenge Cup", awarded to
the winning team
Tournament details
Host countryGreat Britain
Dates19–24 October
Venue(s)1 (in 1 host city)
Final positions
Champions Great Britain (2nd title)
Runners-up Denmark
Third place Netherlands
Fourth place Sweden
Tournament statistics
Matches played6
Goals scored48 (8 per match)
Top scorer(s)Denmark Sophus Nielsen (11 goals)


The White City Stadium hosted all the matches



The matches:[4][5]

First roundEdit

Netherlands    Hungary
Hungary withdrew due to the Bosnian crisis.

Denmark  9–0  France B
N. Middelboe   10'49'
Wolfhagen   15'17'67'72'
Bohr   25'47'
S. Nielsen   78'
Attendance: 2,000
Referee: Thomas Kyle (Great Britain)

France    Bohemia
Bohemia withdrew after losing their FIFA membership.

Great Britain  12–1  Sweden
Stapley   15'??'
Woodward   ??'??'
Berry   ??'
Chapman   ??'
Purnell   ??'??'??'??'
Hawkes   ??'??'
Report Bergström   65'
Attendance: 2,000
Referee: John Ibbotson (Great Britain)


Great Britain  4–0  Netherlands
Stapley   37'60'64'75' Report
Attendance: 6,000
Referee: John Howcroft (Great Britain)

Denmark  17–1  France
S. Nielsen   3'4'6'39'46'48'52'64'66'76'
Lindgren   18'37'
Wolfhagen   60'72'82'89'
N. Middelboe   68'
Report Sartorius   16'
Attendance: 1,000

Bronze medal matchEdit

The French were so shocked by their 17-1 defeat against Denmark that they declined to play for the bronze medal; therefore, the Netherlands played Sweden for third place.[6]

Netherlands  2–0  Sweden
Reeman   6'
Snethlage   58'
Attendance: 1,000

Gold medal matchEdit

Great Britain  2–0  Denmark
Chapman   20'
Woodward   46'
Attendance: 8,000

Medal summaryEdit

Medal tableEdit

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
    Great Britain 3 3 0 0 18 1 +17 6
    Denmark 3 2 0 1 26 3 +23 6
    Netherlands 2 1 0 1 4 2 +2 2
4   France [note 1] 2 0 0 2 1 26 -25 0
5   Sweden 2 0 0 2 1 14 -13 0
  1. ^ Summarizing performances of both, A and B teams.


Complete list of medal winners:[8]

Great Britain won the Gold Medal after beating Denmark at the final
Denmark won the Silver Medal
Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's tournament   Great Britain
Horace Bailey
Arthur Berry
Frederick Chapman
Walter Corbett
Harold Hardman
Robert Hawkes
Kenneth Hunt
Herbert Smith
Harold Stapley
Clyde Purnell
Vivian Woodward
George Barlow[9]
Albert Bell
Ronald Brebner
W. Crabtree
Walter Daffern
Thomas Porter
Albert Scothern
  Denmark (DEN)[10]
Peter Marius Andersen
Harald Bohr
Charles Buchwald
Ludvig Drescher
Johannes Gandil
Harald Hansen
August Lindgren
Kristian Middelboe
Nils Middelboe
Sophus Nielsen
Oskar Nørland
Bjørn Rasmussen
Vilhelm Wolfhagen
Magnus Beck [9]
Ødbert E. Bjarnholt
Knud Hansen
Einar Middelboe
  Netherlands (NED)
Reinier Beeuwkes
Frans de Bruyn Kops
Karel Heijting
Jan Kok
Bok de Korver
Emil Mundt
Louis Otten
Jops Reeman
Edu Snethlage
Ed Sol
Jan Thomée
Caius Welcker
Jan van den Berg[9]
Lo la Chapelle
Vic Gonsalves
John Heijting
Tonie van Renterghem



Danish Sophus Nielsen, topscorer with 11 goals
11 goals
8 goals
6 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal


Place Name Team Goals allowed Games GAA
1 Horace Bailey   Great Britain 1 3 0.33
2 Ludvig Drescher   Denmark 3 3 1.00
3 Reinier Beeuwkes   Netherlands 4 2 2.00
4 Oskar Bengtsson   Sweden 14 2 7.00
5 Fernand Desrousseaux   France 9 1 9.00
6 Maurice Tillette   France 17 1 17.00


  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report. London: British Olympic Association.