Host City: München, West Germany
Date Started: August 27, 1972
Date Finished: September 10, 1972
Participants: 269 (269 men and 0 women) from 16 countries
Youngest Participant: Bolívar (17 years, 250 days)
Oldest Participant: John Bocwinski (35 years, 279 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 70 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 4 countries with 1 medal
The 16 teams were again separated into four four-team groups, but this time the top two in each group only advanced to another series of group round-robins, with two semi-final groups of four teams each. The top two from each semi-final group then advanced to the semi-finals. The matches were played in six stadia in West Germany – Drei-Flüsse-Stadion, Passau; ESV-Stadion, Ingolstadt; Jahnstadion, Regensburg; Olympiastadion, Olympiapark, München; Rosenau-Stadion, Augsburg; and Städtisches Stadion, Nürnberg.
The 16 nations qualified as follows – German Federal Republic (West) as the host nation; Hungary as the defending champion; four teams from a European Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Soviet Union, Poland, German Democratic Republic (GDR) [East], Denmark); two teams from a South American Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Brazil, Colombia); two teams from a North and Central American Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Mexico, United States); three teams from an African Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Morocco, Ghana, Sudan); and three teams from an Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Malaysia, Burma, Iran).
Hungary had won the last two gold medals and again made the final, but was defeated by Poland, 2-1. A new rule was enacted in the bronze-medal match, which stated that if it was tied, no re-play or tie-breaker would be used, but the two teams would share the bronze medal. This came into effect as the GDR and the Soviet Union played to a 2-2 tie.