Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Harvard Stadium, Allston, Massachusetts; Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland; Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California; Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, California
Date Started: July 29, 1984
Date Finished: August 11, 1984
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to single-elimination tournament of eight teams.
Los Angeles saw a change in the admission rules for football players at the Olympics. FIFA had proposed to open the tournament only for players aged 23 and under, regardless of whether they were professionals or not. This did not sit well with several Eastern European countries, who had dominated the previous tournaments with their state sponsored amateurs. They correctly claimed that the FIFA proposal would violate two principles of the IOC, regarding professionalism and age restrictions. The IOC initially voted against the proposal, but a compromise was eventually reached that excluded only so-called "full professionals," defined as those who had played at least one full match in the FIFA World Cup, but only for nations from Europe and South America.
Following the Soviet-led boycott, all three medallists from the 1980 Games withdrew. Of the three 1984 medallists, only Yugoslavia had won an Olympic football medal before, although France and Brazil could hardly be called newcomers to the sport - the French national squad had won Euro '84 earlier that year. Brazil's appearance in the final marked the first South American team in the closing rounds of the tournament since Uruguay and Argentina in 1928. Playing with future World Cup winner Dunga, Brazil was unable to topple the French team. They were coached by Henri Michel, who would go on to coach France at the 1986 World Cup. He also coached three African teams at World Cups: Cameroon, Morocco and Cote d'Ivoire. A novelty at the 1984 Olympics was the use of penalty kicks to decide drawn matches in the knock-out phase. It was first used in the quarter-final between Brazil and Canada.