Football at the 1948 Summer Olympics

The football tournament of the 1948 Summer Olympics was won by Sweden.[1] This remains Sweden's only international title at a senior male football level and was the first international appearance of the trio that would later be known as Gre-No-Li dominating the Italian league at A.C. Milan in the 1950s.

Football at the 1948 Summer Olympics
Sweden, gold medal winners
Tournament details
Host country Great Britain
Dates26 July – 13 August 1948
Teams18 (from 5 confederations)
Venue(s)13 (in 3 host cities)
Final positions
Champions Sweden (1st title)
Runners-up Yugoslavia
Third place Denmark
Fourth place Great Britain
Tournament statistics
Matches played18
Goals scored102 (5.67 per match)
Top scorer(s)Sweden Gunnar Nordahl
Denmark John Hansen (7 goals)

It was the first international football tournament ever to be broadcast on television, with the semi-finals, final and bronze medal play-off all being broadcast live in full on the BBC Television Service.[2]


Wembley Highbury Dulwich Fulham
Empire Stadium Arsenal Stadium Champion Hill Craven Cottage


South coast (→)

Green Pond Road White Hart Lane

Griffin Park
Ilford Brighton
Lynn Road Goldstone Ground

South Norwood Portsmouth
Selhurst Park Fratton Park



Final tournament

The Indian team at 1948 Olympics, captain Talimeren Ao at the centre of first row, goal scorer Sarangapani Raman next to Ao and coach Balaidas Chatterjee to the furthest right.

The tournament began on 26 July 1948 with a preliminary round of two matches: Luxembourg defeating Afghanistan 6–0 and the Netherlands beating Ireland 3–1, with Faas Wilkes scoring two goals for the Dutch. In the first round, which began five days later, the Netherlands played Great Britain at Highbury, Britain prevailing 4–3 after extra time. In goal for Britain was Ronnie Simpson, who would go on to become the oldest Scottish international debutant in history and one of the Lisbon Lions. Yugoslavia (victors over Luxembourg) and Sweden (3–0 winners against Austria) also went through. France eliminated India.

The final match ball.

Sweden's style of play at White Hart Lane attracted much attention. Their forward line contained three exceptional players; one of them Gunnar Gren scored a brace in an easy win. There were two goals, as well, for future FIFA World Cup star Željko Čajkovski in Yugoslavia's 6–1 rout of Luxembourg, although they were behind at half-time. South Korea beat Mexico 5–3. Walter Bahr, Ed Souza, Charlie Colombo and John Souza were part of the United States team that lost 9–0 to Italy, conceding five goals at the end of the match when they were down to nine men. They would later participate in the 1950 FIFA World Cup and beat the favourites England in one of the greatest upsets in football history.

In the quarter-finals, Sweden defeated both the South Koreans and the Danes in the semi-final. In the second semi-final, Great Britain played Yugoslavia at Wembley Stadium, going out by three goals to one. 3–1 was also the score in the final in favour of Sweden over Yugoslavia.

Preliminary round

Luxembourg  6–0  Afghanistan
Gales   6', 79'
Kettel   40'
Schammel   41'
Paulus   62', 80'
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: A.C. Williams (Great Britain)

Netherlands  3–1  Ireland
Wilkes   1', 74'
Roosenburg   11'
Report Smith[3]   52'
Attendance: 8,000
Referee: George Reader (Great Britain)

First round

Yugoslavia  6–1  Luxembourg
Stanković   57'
Mihajlović   61'
Že. Čajkovski   65', 70'
Mitić   74'
Bobek   87'
Report Schammel   10'
Attendance: 7,000
Referee: Karel van der Meer (Netherlands)

Denmark  3–1 (a.e.t.)  Egypt
K. Hansen   82', 95'
Pløger   119' (pen.)
Report El Guindy   83'
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Stanley Boardman (Great Britain)

Great Britain  4–3 (a.e.t.)  Netherlands
McBain   22'
Hardisty   58'
Kelleher   77'
McIlvenny   111'
Report Appel   20', 63'
Wilkes   81'
Attendance: 21,000
Referee: Vald Laursen (Denmark)

France  2–1  India
Courbin   30'
Persillon   89'
Report Raman   70'
Attendance: 17,000
Referee: Gunnar Dahlner (Sweden)

Turkey  4–0  Republic of China
Kılıç   18', 61'
Saygun   72'
Küçükandonyadis   87'
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Johann Beck (Austria)

Sweden  3–0  Austria
G. Nordahl   2', 10'
Rosen   71'
Attendance: 9,514
Referee: William Ling (Great Britain)

South Korea  5–3  Mexico
Choi Seong-gon   13'
Bae Jeong-ho   30'
Chung Kook-chin   63', 66'
Chung Nam-sik   87'
Report Cárdenas   23'
Figueroa   85'
Ruiz   89'
Attendance: 6,500
Referee: Leo Lemešić (Yugoslavia)

Italy  9–0  United States
Pernigo   2', 57', 88', 90'
Stellin   25' (pen.)
Turconi   46'
Cavigioli   72', 87'
Caprile   90'
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Charles de la Salle (France)


Yugoslavia  3–1  Turkey
Že. Čajkovski   21'
Bobek   60'
Wölfl   80'
Report Gulesin   33'
Attendance: 8,000
Referee: Victor Sdez (France)

Sweden  12–0  South Korea
Liedholm   11', 62'
G. Nordahl   25', 40', 78', 80'
Gren   27'
Carlsson   61', 64', 82'
Rosén   72', 85'
Attendance: 7,110
Referee: Giuseppe Carpani (Italy)

Great Britain  1–0  France
Hardisty   29' Report
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: Karel van der Meer (Netherlands)

Denmark  5–3  Italy
John Hansen   30', 53', 74', 82'
Pløger   84'
Report Cavigioli   49'
Caprile   67'
Pernigo   81'
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: William Ling (Great Britain)


Sweden  4–2  Denmark
Carlsson   18', 42'
Rosén   31', 37'
Report Seebach   3'
John Hansen   77'
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Stanley Boardman (Great Britain)

Great Britain  1–3  Yugoslavia
Donovan   20' Report Bobek   19'
Wölfl   24'
Mitić   48'
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Karel van der Meer (Netherlands)

Bronze medal match

Great Britain  3–5  Denmark
Aitken   5'
Hardisty   33'
Amor   63' (pen.)
Report Præst   12', 49'
John Hansen   16', 77'
J. Sørensen   41'
Attendance: 50,000
Referee: Karel van der Meer (Netherlands)

Gold medal match

Sweden  3–1  Yugoslavia
Gren   24'   67' (pen.)
G. Nordahl   48'
Report Bobek   42'
Attendance: 60,000


First roundQuarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinals
  Republic of China0
  Great Britain1
  Great Britain (a.e.t.)4
  Great Britain1
  South Korea0
  South Korea5
  Denmark2 Bronze Medal match
  Denmark (a.e.t.)3
  Denmark5  Great Britain3
  Italy3   Denmark5
  United States0


Gold Silver Bronze
  Sweden   Yugoslavia   Denmark
Torsten Lindberg
Karl Svensson
Knut Nordahl
Erik Nilsson
Birger Rosengren
Bertil Nordahl
Sune Andersson
Gunnar Gren
Gunnar Nordahl
Henry Carlsson
Nils Liedholm
Börje Leander
Franjo Šoštarić
Miroslav Brozović
Branko Stanković
Zlatko Čajkovski
Miodrag Jovanović
Aleksandar Atanacković
Prvoslav Mihajlović
Rajko Mitić
Franjo Wölfl
Stjepan Bobek
Željko Čajkovski
Kosta Tomašević
Ljubomir Lovrić
Zvonimir Cimermančić
Bernard Vukas
Knud Bastrup-Birk
Hans Colberg
Edvin Hansen
John Hansen
Jørgen W. Hansen
Karl Aage Hansen
Erik Kuld Jensen
Ivan Jensen
Ove Jensen
Hans Viggo Jensen
Per Knudsen
Knud Lundberg
Eigil Nielsen
Knud Børge Overgaard
Poul Petersen
Axel Pilmark
Johannes Pløger
Carl Aage Præst
Holger Seebach
Erling Sørensen
Jørgen Leschly Sørensen
Dion Ørnvold




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


  1. ^ "Football at the 1948 London Summer Games". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ Hayes, Paul (8 June 2021). "International Football at the 1948 Olympics". BBC Genome Project. BBC Online. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  3. ^ Official Report on Ireland’s Participation XIVth Olympiad August 1948



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