Saturday, 19 April 2008

[Olympics 2008] Italy await Beijing draw

Italy will on Sunday discover whom they will face in the group phase of the 2008 Olympic Games in China this summer.

The official draw for the Under-23 tournament will be held in the Chinese capital Beijing at 1200 UK time on Sunday afternoon (1300 Italy/CET and 1900 China).

Italy, bronze medallists at Athens 2004, secured an Olympic spot for 2008 after the Under-21’s team edged out Portugal on penalties in their sides' play-off encounter at the 2007 UEFA European Under-21’s Championships.

Sixteen men's teams will be competing in the tournament to be played in six stadiums in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao from 6 to 23 August 2008.

Pierluigi Casiraghi’s Azzurri will travel to China along with fellow Europeans Belgium, Serbia and current continental champions the Netherlands.

China, who qualified as hosts, will be joined by Asian rivals Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Argentina, gold medallists in 2004, and Brazil will represent the South American region while, Africa offers Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. Honduras and USA qualified from the CONCACAF region and New Zealand secured the only spot available to Oceania.

The 16 men's sides will be split into four groups, with the top two in each progressing to the quarter-finals. Teams from the same geographic region will not be drawn together for the group stage.

At the last four stage, the two beaten semi-finalists will fight it out for the bronze medal in the third/fourth-placed final on August 22 in Shanghai. The gold and silver medals will be awarded in the Final which takes place at the Olympic Stadium in Beijing on August 23.

Each nation will call up on a squad of 18 players for the tournament to travel to Beijing and at least 15 of those must have been born after January 1, 1985. The rules allow each coach to take three "over-age" players.


  1. Just a question, maybe someone will know. If a nation names the 18 man roster and they're all 21 or under except the 3 they are permitted to be older, and one of the under-21 players birthday is during the run of the Olympics and as a result would turn 22, what would happen there? Would he still be eligible to play, would he count against the 3-man count for over-21s, what would happen?

  2. ^ Firstly, its an "Under-23" tournament - so many of those 15 players called up will be 23 years old or under.

    The Olympics rules state that 15 of the 18 players must be born on or after January 1, 1985 for them to play in the August 2008 tournament. As a result it doesn't matter if some of the players' birthday falls during the tournament.

  3. Ah okay, that works, and my mistake on the 21/23 confusion, I kept saying U21 to myself because that was the tournament used to qualify, and had ended up just beating it into my skull. Thanks for clearing that up =)