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Football at the 1920 Summer Olympics

The football at the 1920 Summer Olympics, was one of the 154 events at the 1920 Summer Olympics, held in Antwerp. It was the fifth time association football was on the Olympic schedule. The tournament was contested by 14 teams. The final (and gold) was won by host Belgium against Czechoslovakia. The latter was disqualified after the game and the silver went to Spain while the Netherlands won the bronze medal.[1]

Men's football
at the Games of the VII Olympiad
VenueOlympisch Stadion
DateAugust 28–September 5
Competitors190 from 14 nations
1st, gold medalist(s) Belgium Belgium
2nd, silver medalist(s) Spain Spain
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Netherlands Netherlands
← 1912
1924 →





Hosts and tournament winners Belgium before the final.

16 teams entered the competition, which was organized on a knockout basis, but Switzerland withdrew after the first round draw had been made, meaning France were given a first-round bye. 14 teams entered the first round, with the winners joining France in the quarter-finals, with Belgium receiving a first round forfeit after Poland failed to appear.

Norway defeated Great Britain in the first round, considered by Elo as one of the greatest football upsets of all time.[2] Czechoslovakia, participating in their first international tournament, survived to the final, inflicting defeats on Yugoslavia (who played their first ever international match in the competition), Norway, and France. After the first round forfeit, Belgium beat Spain and the Netherlands on their way to the final. The final ended with Belgium winning the gold medal by default after Czechoslovakia walked off during the final to protest the performance of the English referee, John Lewis.[3]

The Bergvall System[4] was used to determine second and third places. The beaten quarter-finalists played-off, Spain emerged triumphant, overcoming Sweden 2-1 and Italy 2-0. Ordinarily, Spain would then have played the beaten finalists, but since Czechoslovakia had been disqualified from the tournament, Spain thus advanced straight to the silver medal match against the Netherlands, who were beaten in the semi-finals by gold medallists Belgium. Spain won 3-1.


First roundEdit

Czechoslovakia  7–0  Yugoslavia
Vanik   20'46'79'
Janda   34'50'75'
Sedláček   43'
Attendance: 600
Referee: Raphael Van Praag (BEL)

Spain  1–0  Denmark
Arabolaza   54' Report
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Willem Eymers (NED)

Italy  2–1  Egypt
Baloncieri   25'
Brezzi   57'
Report Osman   30'
Attendance: 2,000
Referee: Paul Putz (BEL)

Norway  3–1  Great Britain
Gundersen   13'51'
Wilhelms   63'
Report Nicholas   25'
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Johannes Mutters (NED)

Netherlands  3–0  Luxembourg
J. Bulder   30'
Groosjohan   47'85'
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Georges Hubrecht (BEL)

Sweden  9–0  Greece
Olsson   4'79'
Karlsson   15'20'21'51'85'
Wicksell   25'
Dahl   31'
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Charles Barette (BEL)

Belgium were scheduled to play Poland, but Poland failed to arrive (due ongoing Polish–Soviet War); Belgium were awarded a 2-0 victory.

Bye: France


Netherlands  5–4 (a.e.t.)  Sweden
Groosjohan   10'57'
J. Bulder   44'88' (pen.)
De Natris   115'
Report Karlsson   16'32'
Olsson   20'
Dahl   72'
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Josef Fanta (TCH)

Czechoslovakia  4–0  Norway
Vanik   8'
Janda   17'66'77'
Attendance: 4,000
Referee: Charles Barette (BEL)

France  3–1  Italy
Boyer   10'
Nicolas   14'
Bard   54'
Report Brezzi   33' (pen.)
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Henri Christophe (BEL)

Belgium  3–1  Spain
Coppée   11'52'55' Report Arrate   62' (pen.)
Attendance: 18,000
Referee: Johannes Mutters (NED)


Czechoslovakia  4–1  France
Mazal   18'75'87'
Steiner   70'
Report Boyer   79'
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Johannes Mutters (NED)

Belgium  3–0  Netherlands
Larnoe   46'
Van Hege   55'
Bragard   85'
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: John Lewis (GBR)

Gold medal matchEdit

Belgian player Robert Coppée opens the score of the final, with a penalty kick against goalkeeper Rudolf Klapka

The final was highly controversial and is the only time an international final has been abandoned. Belgium were awarded the gold medal by default after Czechoslovakia walked off the field in the 40th minute with the score 2-0 to protest the officiating after Czech left-back Karel Steiner was ejected for assaulting Robert Coppée.

They were unhappy with the performance of the 65-year-old English referee, John Lewis, who had already refereed the Belgian semi-final victory over the Netherlands, a match observed by the Czechs (it had taken place on the same day and in the same stadium as their own victory against France), as well as the English linesmen, Charles Wreford-Brown and A. Knight, who had allowed a contentious second Belgian goal in the 30th minute that Henri Larnoe had converted. The Czechs immediately protested the result of the final.[a] Czechoslovakia's protests were dismissed, and they were disqualified from the tournament without receiving any medal.

Belgium  2–0  Czechoslovakia
Coppée   6' (pen.)
Larnoe   30'
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: John Lewis (GBR)

Silver and bronze medal tournamentEdit

First roundEdit

Italy  2–1 (a.e.t.)  Norway
Sardi   46'
Badini   96'
Report Andersen   41'
Attendance: 500
Referee: Louis Fourgous (FRA)

Spain  2–1  Sweden
Belauste   51'
Acedo   53'
Report Dahl   28'
Attendance: 1,500
Referee: Giovanni Mauro (ITA)

Second roundEdit

Spain  2–0  Italy
Sesúmaga   43'72' Report
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Paul Putz (BEL)

Third roundEdit

This round was scratched and Spain advanced to the final against the Netherlands (beaten in the semi-finals by Belgium) as Czechoslovakia were disqualified after their walk off during the final, and Belgium had a forfeit in the first round after Poland failed to arrive (due ongoing Polish–Soviet War).

Silver and bronze medal matchEdit

Spain  3–1  Netherlands
Sesúmaga   7'35'
Pichichi   72'
Report Groosjohan   68'
Attendance: 14,000
Referee: Paul Putz (BEL)

Friendly matchEdit

This match was not part of the tournament, but was organised after both teams were eliminated. Some sources refer to this as an eighth place match or part of the silver and bronze medal tournament.

Egypt  4–2  Yugoslavia
Abaza   43'??'
Allouba   ??'
Hegazi   ??'
Report Dubravčić   ??'
Ružić   ??'
Attendance: 500
Referee: Rafael van Praag (NED)


7 goals
6 goals
5 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal



  1. ^ Their protests, translated from the original French, were as follows:
    1. We were allocated an English linesman, which is in contradiction with the rules which state that each participating nation has the right to one of both linesman. This violation of the rules was prejudicial to us during the game, because the English linesman was not impartial and this is why we seek the cancellation of the match. Immediately after the game we brought this notice to the attention of M. Rodolphe Seeldrayers.
    2. The majority of the decisions of the referee Mr. Lewis were wrong and it was obvious that it gave the public the wrong impression about our game. Also both Belgian goals were the result of incorrect decisions of the referee and we seek a rigorous investigation on that point.
    3. During the match, Belgian soldiers were introduced to the crowd until they circled the pitch and because of their provocative presence our players were unable to play their normal game. As a result of the very regrettable incident at the end of the match when there was a pitch invasion led by the soldiers and our national flag was insulted we will not participate until we have received an apology from the (Belgian) soldiers.[5]


  1. ^ "Football at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games". Sports Reference. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "VII. Olympiad Antwerp 1920 Football Tournament". Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
  5. ^'1920%20Czechoslovakia%20football'

External linksEdit