Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Olympic Football

At least one reader has been paying attention this summer to the Knockout Draw System in International tournaments, which is good to know. Whether Hareeba has been investing or not I have no idea, but he's been taking an interest in the Olympic Football competitions currently being played in Tokyo.

Hareeba noted that in the Men's tournament, 4 of the 6 knockout games have ended as Draws, as have 3 of the 6 in the Women's competition. Since the Men's tournament became an Under-23 event in 1992, the 56 matches have produced just 12 Draws before this year, while for the Women there have been 11 Draws from 40 matches. 

While backing the Draw in third-place playoff games isn't usually a good idea, it might be logical to think that with a Bronze Medal at stake, these games in the Olympics might be a little more competitive compared to what might be considered a meaningless inconvenience, but the results suggest this isn't the case. 

The Women have never seen a Draw in this match, and the Men not since 1972 when East Germany and the Soviet Union were both awarded Bronze medals after a 2:2 draw in the time when Eastern European countries dominated Olympic football from 1952 to 1980. Apparently the attraction of a Bronze medal isn't strong enough to overcome the disappointment of missing out on Gold in football. 

Unfortunately I have no historical prices for any of these matches, but other than backing the Draw in the Gold Medal game, aka the Final, there was nothing to get too excited about. Of the 13 finals to date, five have finished as Draws and none have been won by more than a single goal. Sweden play Canada in the Women's Final while Brazil play Spain in the Men's.


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