Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Date Started: September 17, 1988
Date Finished: October 1, 1988
Participants: 270 (270 men and 0 women) from 16 countries
Youngest Participant: Laith Hussein Shahib (17 years, 340 days)
Oldest Participant: Ricardo Piccinini (39 years, 11 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 52 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
For the first time since 1972 no boycotts affected the Olympic football tournament. The 16 qualified teams faced the now standard Olympic format, with the 16 teams separated into four four-team groups, that played a round-robin to determine the top two teams in each group, who advanced to the quarter-finals and the knock-out phase. One new thing in the Olympic matches was the use of penalty kicks to decide drawn matches in the knock-out phase.
The 16 teams qualified as follows – Korea (South) as the host nation; five teams from a UEFA (Europe) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Italy, Sweden, Soviet Union, German Federal Republic (FRG) [West], Yugoslavia); three teams from a CAF (Africa) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Nigeria, Tunisia, Zambia); two teams from an AFC (Asia) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (China, Iraq); two teams from a CONCACAF (North & Central America/Caribbean) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Mexico, United States); two teams from a CONMEBOL (South America) Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Argentina, Brazil); and Australia from the OFC (Oceania) Olympic Qualifying Tournament. However, Mexico was disqualified, and replaced by Guatemala, when they were found to have used overage players in the qualifying round for the 1989 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The matches were played in five stadia throughout Korea – Ol-lim-pik Ju-gyeong-gi-jang (Seoul Olympic Stadium), Seoul Sports Complex, Seoul; Dong-dae-mun Un-dong-jang (Dongdaemun Stadium), Seoul; Gu-deog Un-dong-jang (Gudeok Stadium), Busan; Mu-deung Gyeong-gi-yang (Mudeung Stadium), Gwangju; Dae-gu Si-min Un-dong-jang (Daegu Civic Stadium), Daegu; and Dae-jon Han-bat Jong-hab-un-dong-jang (Daejeon Hanbat Stadium), Daejeon
Brazil made it to the final match, but continued its Olympic football frustration (which continues thru 2012) by failing to win the gold medal, losing to the Soviet Union, 2-1, in extra-time. West Germany won the bronze medal by easily beating Italy, 3-0.