Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, Ontario; Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Montréal, Québec; Sherbrooke Stadium, Sherbrooke, Québec; Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 31, 1976
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to single-elimination tournament of eight teams.
The 1976 Olympic football tournament was plagued by cancellations. First, Uruguay withdrew its team, and so did the South American teams that were called up to replace them (Argentina and Colombia). The FIFA finally awarded their spot to Cuba, which had played in the North and Central American qualifying zone. The African boycott caused three more teams to withdraw: Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana. As usual, the Eastern European teams dominated the tournament, with reigning champions Poland, the Soviet Union and East Germany being joined by Brazil in the semis. The East Germans played with the same squad that had defeated West Germany at home in the 1974 World Cup (the West Germans went on to win that tournament), while Poland had also nominated their World Cup team for the Olympics. While Poland had impressed in 1974, they were now out of shape, and East Germany won the final with relative ease. Among the players in the second round was France's [Michel Platini]. He would become one of the world's football stars in the 1980s, leading France to the European championship in 1984. In 1992, he would carry the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville.