Brazil star Neymar during a friendly match ahead of the 2016 Rio OlympicsReuters

Playing football in Brazil is a mouthwatering prospect for anybody. The last time the beautiful game was played on a grand scale in the football-crazy nation was during the FIFA World Cup 2014, when Germany became the champions.

Two years have passed and the big teams are back once again to compete this time in the Rio Olympics 2016, the matches of which will be held over Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Salvador, Sao Paulo, and Manaus. A total of 16 teams will be participating in the men's football tournament, while the women's football tournament will feature 12 teams.

Men's football tournament

The Olympics is a platform for youngsters to shine and that is the reason why only three overage players can be included in the final 18-man squad of each team. The rest of the 15 players should be mandatory U-23 players.

Teams participating from each group:

Group A

Brazil - The hosts have sealed an automatic qualification to play in the mega sporting quadrennial event and they will be expected to giving their best foot forward to land home the coveted trophy.

The presence of Barcelona superstar Neymar is one example that the Selecao are taking this short tournament very seriously. Brazil were thrashed out of the FIFA World Cup 2014 by Germany with a 7-1 scoreline in Minas Gerais and that was really hard to take for the entire South American nation. In June 2016, too, they witnessed a shocking exit from the group stages of Copa America Centenario.

Come what may, the side will be expected to give their best performance at the Olympics 2016 in an effort to bring similes once again in front of their home fans.

Iraq - One of the three countries to qualify from the Asian confederation, it won't be too far-fetched to hope that the No 99 ranked nation can emulate what they did in their previous Olympics football tournament.

They appeared for the last time in the 2004 Athens Games and took everyone by storm when they notched victories over Portugal, Australia and Costa Rica to end the tournament at the fourth position.

Denmark - One of the four teams to have qualified from Europe after becoming semifinalists in the UEFA U-21 Championships last year, Denmark will be expected to continue with their rich tradition of going all the way for glory.

They have won three silver medals and one bronze in their nine overall appearances in the football tournament in Olympics.

South Africa - The African nation have prepared well for the Olympics after winning the COSAFA Cup 2016 (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) held in Namibia in June 2016.

Group B

Sweden - Don't expect the one name that immediately comes into the minds when we hear of Sweden, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to be a part of the Olympics 2016. The Manchester United star has already retired. However, that being said, the new team cannot be taken for granted by the other teams. 

They entered the Olympics 2016 tournament as the UEFA U-21 European Championships winners.

Japan - Slowly on the verge of becoming one of the superpowers in football, Japan could possibly come out as the group winners. They stood fourth in the football tournament in the London Olympics 2012 and this time, they could potentially exceed expectations as well.

Japan have won the bronze medal in the football event of Olympics in 1968 in Mexico.

Colombia - The South American nation will enter into the fifth football competition in Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The nation doesn't have a very impressive outing in the previous outings, as they have never progressed past the first round.

Nigeria - Expect the African nation to progress surely to the quarterfinals of the football tournament in Rio Olympics. A gold medal winner in the 1996 Olympics as well as a silver medal winner in the 2008 Olympics, the Rio-bound side, which includes Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel, is expected to make a good mark in the competition.

Group C

Germany - The reigning World champions do not have any big name in their midst, but the young team will be expected to continue the nation's stunning form in the sport at the moment. 

Die Mannschaft have never won an Olympic gold medal, but they do have a bronze medal form the 1988 Olympics in South Korea.

South Korea - The Asian nation could join Germany as the other team to qualify for the knockout stages from the group. The silver medallists in the 2012 London Olympics, the side led by Kwon Changhoon will be looking for a second-straight Olympic medal.

Mexico - The South American nation entered the event after winning the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, beating Canada 2-0 in the final. However, will that really help them to qualify from the group? That remains to be seen.

Fiji - Having qualified after coming fourth in the 2015 Pacific Games, the lesser-known football nation will have a tough challenge getting past the other teams from the group.

Group D

Portugal - The senior side won the Euro 2016 recently, but none of the big names from the tournament have made it to the Rio Olympics. The European nation haven't won a medal in the sporting event, but will they this time?

Argentina - No Lionel Messi or Sergio Aguero, how will they cope? There may be some challenges, but the South American nation are expected to continue their rich tradition of winning Olympic golds.

They have appeared in seven previous Olympics and picked up four medals, including two silvers and back-to-back gold medals in 2004 and 2008.

Honduras, Algeria - Both the sides are massive underdogs but they, no doubt, will be keen on putting their best performance to cause any kind of an upset.

women's football
U.S. women's Olympic soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo (1) warms up before the USA vs Costa Rica friendly at Children's Mercy Park in July 2016Reuters

Women's football tournament

Unlike the men's competition, there are no age restrictions on the 12 women's teams who will be participating in Rio Olympics 2016.


Group E: Brazil, China PR, Sweden, South Africa

Group F: Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, Germany

Group G: New Zealand, United States, France, Colombia

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