Host City: Montréal, Canada
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 31, 1976
Participants: 202 (202 men and 0 women) from 13 countries
Youngest Participant: Guillermo Cosio (17 years, 307 days)
Oldest Participant: Andranik Eskandarian (34 years, 306 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 49 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
Sixteen (16) qualified for the Olympic tournament, which was by now standard, but only 13 actually competed when Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia withdrew in support of the African boycott of the 1976 Olympics. The format reverted to that of 1964 and 1968, which would become the Olympic format going forward, with the 16 teams separated into four groups of four-teams each, playing a round-robin to determine the top two teams in each group to advanced to the quarter-finals and the knock-out phase. The matches were played in four venues in Ontario and Qubec – Stade olympique, Parc olympique, Montréal, Québec; Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario; Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, Ontario; and Stade Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec.
The 16 teams qualified as follows – Canada as the host nation; Poland as the defending champion; four teams from a UEFA (Europe) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (German Democratic Republic (GDR) [East], France, Spain, Soviet Union); three teams from a CAF (Africa) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia – all withdrew); three teams from an AFC (Asia) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Iran, Israel, DPR Korea [North]); three teams from a CONCACAF (North & Central America/Caribbean) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico); and Brazil from a CONMEBOL (South America) Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Uruguay also qualified from CONMEBOL but withdrew, as did Argentina and Colombia, when they were offered the second sport from South America. The spot was finally awarded to CONCACAF and Cuba.
Defending champion Poland went to the final, but lost the gold medal to the GDR (East Germany), 3-1. Poland had defeated Brazil, 2-0, in the semi-finals, which lost the bronze medal match to the Soviet Union by the same score.