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Great Britain women's Olympic football team

Great Britain
Shirt badge/Association crest
AssociationThe FA
Head coachPhil Neville
Most caps11 players (5)
Top scorerSteph Houghton (3)
First colours
Second colours
First international
United Kingdom Great Britain 0–0 Sweden Sweden
(Middlesbrough, United Kingdom; 20 July 2012)
Biggest win
United Kingdom Great Britain 3–0 Cameroon Cameroon
(Cardiff, United Kingdom; 28 July 2012)
Biggest defeat
 Great Britain 0–2 Canada 
(Coventry, United Kingdom; 3 August 2012)
Olympic Games
Appearances2 (first in 2012)
Best resultQuarter-finals, 2012

The Great Britain women's Olympic football team (also known as Team GB; or occasionally Great Britain and Northern Ireland) represents the United Kingdom in the women's football tournament at the Olympic Games. Normally, no team represents the whole of the United Kingdom in women's football, as separate teams compete for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the World Cup and the European Championship.

Women's football was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1996, but Great Britain did not enter the football events at this time. This changed when the 2012 Summer Olympics were hosted by London, as an Olympic football team was created to take the automatic qualifying place of the host nation. Following an agreement between the British Olympic Association (BOA) and The Football Association (FA), which operates the England team, the FA selected the British team, which could include players from across the United Kingdom. The team reached the quarter-finals, losing to Canada.

FIFA stated that they would not allow entry of a British team in future Olympics unless all four Home Nations agreed. No agreement was reached ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics, but a deal was formed for the 2020 tournament. Great Britain has qualified for that tournament, as England has secured one of the top three places among European teams at the 2019 World Cup.


When the Football Association (FA) was formed in 1863, its geographical remit was not clear: there was no specification of whether it covered just England, the entire UK or even the entire world. The question was answered when the Scottish Football Association (SFA) was founded in 1873. Football associations for Wales and Ireland (later Northern Ireland) were founded in 1876 and 1880 respectively. Football therefore developed with separate national teams representing each of the countries of the United Kingdom and no 'United Kingdom football association' was ever formed. A Great Britain Olympic football team was selected by the FA for men's Olympic football between 1908 and 1972, for amateur players, but the UK had stopped entering teams into the Olympic football tournament by the time of the first women's football competition in 1996 due to The FA abolishing the distinction between amateurism and professionalism in 1972.

London 2012

The Great Britain team before their first match in the Olympic tournament.

Due to London's successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the United Kingdom had the right to enter a team in the football tournament as host nation.[1] The British Olympic Association stated it would enter a football team,[2] but the Scottish Football Association (SFA) refused even to attend meetings at which the Home Nations were to discuss the possibility[3] and the Football Association of Wales withdrew from the negotiations.[4] In October 2007 the Irish Football Association (the association for Northern Ireland) also announced that they would not take part in a unified team, leaving the Football Association (England) as the only association willing to take part. It was reported that the other associations feared the loss of their privileged voting position within the International Football Association Board.[5][6]

As England had reached the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, Great Britain had qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics. They were unable to participate in the Games as the national football associations failed to reach an agreement,[7][8] and they were replaced in the tournament by Sweden. Nevertheless, the BOA decided that a women's team would compete in London 2012.

Following an initial announcement in May 2009 of a compromise, in which the FA would select a team of only English players to compete at London,[9] an FA statement in June 2011 claimed that after discussions with all British football associations and the BOA that they would enter a team selected from across the United Kingdom.[10] That announcement angered the other British football associations, who claimed not to have been consulted on the decision, but the SFA admitted that it would have no grounds for preventing Scottish players from competing in the team.[11] In November 2011 the Professional Footballers' Association warned the SFA, FAW and IFA against trying to "intimidate" players into not taking part.[12]

In June 2011 Arsenal Ladies striker Julie Fleeting, Scotland's record goalscorer, ruled herself out of contention. She concurred with the opinion of her father Jim—the SFA's director of football development—that participation may "jeopardise" the Scottish national team.[13] Fleeting's teammate for club and country Kim Little took the opposite view: "I don't see why anyone would want to stop a player from playing at a massive tournament like the Olympics, it's the biggest sporting event ever. If I get the opportunity I'll grab it with both hands – I would definitely play."[5] Fellow Scots Rachel Corsie and Jennifer Beattie also expressed interest,[14] as well as Everton's Welsh winger Gwennan Harries.[15]

In October 2011, England manager Hope Powell was appointed head coach of the women's team.[16] Powell began the process of selecting the squad by writing to all the players whom she wanted to consider for the team, offering them the opportunity to exclude themselves from consideration for the squad. It was confirmed in January 2012 that none of the players who had been contacted had asked to withdraw.[17] In June 2012 The Belfast Telegraph reported that three Northern Ireland players had been selected in the final squad.[18] One of the players concerned, Sunderland's Sarah McFadden, dismissed the report: "I haven't received anything about being in final squad... Wish it was true but unfortunately not."[19]


Great Britain were placed in group E for the Olympic tournament prior to the draw, with their first two matches due to be played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.[20] The draw was held on 24 April 2012 and added New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil to Great Britain's group.[21] Two days after the draw, it was announced that Great Britain's single warm-up game prior to the start of the tournament would be against Sweden at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough on 20 July.[22]

The first ever game for the Great Britain women's Olympic football team was a behind closed doors training match win against South Africa, it was part of the preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics and took place in Birmingham, England on 15 July 2012.[23] The first official game was a goalless draw against Sweden on 20 July.

Great Britain 0–0 Sweden
Referee: Florence Guillemin
Group Stage
Great Britain 1–0 New Zealand
Houghton Goal 64' Report
Great Britain 3–0 Cameroon
Stoney Goal 18'
J. Scott Goal 23'
Houghton Goal 82'
Great Britain 1–0 Brazil
Houghton Goal 2' Report
Attendance: 70,584[26]
Referee: Carol Anne Chenard (Canada)
Great Britain 0–2 Canada
Report Filigno Goal 12'
Sinclair Goal 26'
Attendance: 28,828[27]
Referee: Sachiko Yamagishi (Japan)


The following players were named in the squad for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The squad consisted of 16 English and two Scottish players.[28] No Welsh or Northern Irish players were selected, although one Northern Irish player was named as a standby. Dunia Susi was called into the squad from the standby list when Ifeoma Dieke suffered ruptured knee ligaments during Team GB's 3–0 win over Cameroon in the second group match.[29]

Caps and goals updated as of 4 August 2012.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK England Karen Bardsley (1984-10-14)14 October 1984 (aged 27) 5 0 Sweden Linköping
18 1GK England Rachel Brown (1980-07-02)2 July 1980 (aged 32) 1 0 England Everton
2 2DF England Alex Scott (1984-10-14)14 October 1984 (aged 27) 5 0 England Arsenal
3 2DF England Steph Houghton (1988-04-23)23 April 1988 (aged 24) 5 3 England Arsenal
5 2DF England Sophie Bradley (1989-10-21)21 October 1989 (aged 22) 4 0 England Lincoln Ladies
6 2DF England Casey Stoney (1982-05-13)13 May 1982 (aged 30) 5 1 England Lincoln Ladies
13 2DF Scotland Ifeoma Dieke (1981-02-26)26 February 1981 (aged 31) 3 0 Sweden Vittsjö GIK
16 2DF England Claire Rafferty (1989-01-11)11 January 1989 (aged 23) 1 0 England Chelsea
19 2DF England Dunia Susi (1987-08-11)11 August 1987 (aged 24) 0 0 England Chelsea
4 3MF England Jill Scott (1987-02-02)2 February 1987 (aged 25) 5 1 England Everton
8 3MF England Fara Williams (1984-01-25)25 January 1984 (aged 28) 5 0 England Everton
12 3MF Scotland Kim Little (1990-06-29)29 June 1990 (aged 22) 5 0 England Arsenal
14 3MF England Anita Asante (1985-04-27)27 April 1985 (aged 27) 5 0 Sweden Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC
7 4FW England Karen Carney (1987-08-01)1 August 1987 (aged 24) 5 0 England Birmingham City
9 4FW England Ellen White (1989-05-09)9 May 1989 (aged 23) 4 0 England Arsenal
10 4FW England Kelly Smith (1978-10-29)29 October 1978 (aged 33) 4 0 England Arsenal
11 4FW England Rachel Yankey (1979-11-01)1 November 1979 (aged 32) 5 0 England Arsenal
15 4FW England Eniola Aluko (1987-02-21)21 February 1987 (aged 25) 5 0 England Birmingham City
17 4FW England Rachel Williams (1988-01-10)10 January 1988 (aged 24) 1 0 England Birmingham City
Reserve players
No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Northern Ireland Emma Higgins (1986-05-15)15 May 1986 (aged 26) 0 0 Iceland KR
4FW England Jessica Clarke (1989-05-05)5 May 1989 (aged 23) 0 0 England Lincoln Ladies
4FW Scotland Jane Ross (1989-09-18)18 September 1989 (aged 22) 0 0 Scotland Glasgow City

Tokyo 2020

After the team was eliminated from the 2012 Olympics, head coach Hope Powell expressed her wish that a team would be entered in future Olympic tournaments.[30] In June 2013, while giving evidence to the House of Lords' Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee, the Football Association indicated that they would be prepared to run women's teams at future Olympic tournaments subject to one of the home nations meeting the qualification criteria (i.e. being one of the top three European nations at the Women's World Cup).[31] However, following strong objections from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations, and a commitment from FIFA that they would not allow entry of a British team unless all four Home Nations agreed, the Football Association announced on 30 March 2015 that they would not seek entry into the 2016 Summer Olympics tournament.[32] The third-place finish England secured at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup would have qualified Great Britain for the Olympics.[33]

In June 2015, British Olympic Association chief Bill Sweeney announced a campaign to get the team reinstated for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[34] In 2018, Baroness Campbell, the FA's Head of Women's Football, indicated that there was a willingness on the part of the other three Home Nations to allow the Football Association the opportunity to run a football team for the 2020 Olympics.[35] An agreement was reached between the four associations ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics that the highest ranked of the four home nations would be nominated to take the Olympic place, should the qualifying criteria be achieved. As a consequence, although both England and Scotland qualified for the 2019 World Cup (which is used by UEFA as the qualifying tournament for the Summer Olympics), only England were eligible to compete for an Olympic qualifying place.[36] By reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup, England secured one of the three qualifying places allocated to UEFA.[37][38]


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the games have been postponed to the summer of 2021. However, their official name remains 2020 Summer Olympics with the rescheduled 2021 dates have yet to be announced.[39]


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Great Britain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2 TBD 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 TBD 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible knockout stage based on ranking
4 TBD 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on TBD. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
TBD Great Britain vTBDJapan
Stadium: TBD
TBD Great Britain vTBDJapan
Stadium: TBD
TBD Great Britain vTBDJapan
Stadium: TBD

Olympic record

Olympics record
Year Result Position Matches Wins Draws Losses GF GA
United States 1996 Did not enter
Australia 2000
Greece 2004
China 2008
United Kingdom 2012 Quarter-final 5th 4 3 0 1 5 2
Brazil 2016 Did not enter
Japan 2020 Qualified
France 2024 TBD
United States 2028
Total 2/7 T-5th 4 3 0 1 5 2

See also


  1. ^ "Team GB Olympic football deal angers nations". BBC Sport. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  2. ^ "GB football team to enter Games". BBC Sport. 30 September 2006.
  3. ^ "No Scots for GB Olympic football". BBC Sport. 11 November 2005.
  4. ^ "Wales oppose GB Olympic football". BBC Sport. 6 December 2005.
  5. ^ a b Leighton, Tony (4 September 2011). "Scotland's Kim Little wants to play for Great Britain at 2012 Olympics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  6. ^ Longman, Jere; Lyall, Sarah (18 September 2011). "A British Soccer Team? What's That? Say Scots, Welsh and Irish". New York Times. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Caborn blasts women's Games snub". BBC Sport. 4 December 2007.
  8. ^ Mott, Sue (18 December 2007). "British Olympic Association's political own goal". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Nations pave way for 2012 GB team". BBC Sport. 29 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Team GB decision reached". The Football Association. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Great Britain Olympic football team agreement close". BBC Sport. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  12. ^ "PFA warns against Olympic player 'intimidation'". BBC Sport. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Scotland's Julie Fleeting turns her back on Team GB for London 2012". The Guardian. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  14. ^ "Glasgow City captain Rachel Corsie would accept Team GB call". BBC Sport. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  15. ^ "FAW's Olympic stance frustrates Gwennan Harries". BBC Sport. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell to lead GB Olympic teams". BBC Sport. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  17. ^ "London 2012: Stuart Pearce says nations' Olympics stance saddens him". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  18. ^ McKinley, Stuart (6 June 2012). "Northern Ireland women will make history at Olympics". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  19. ^ "Irish Trio Not Set for Olympics (yet)". She Kicks. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  20. ^ "GB Olympic football teams to play in Manchester, London and Cardiff". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  21. ^ Gibson, Owen (24 April 2012). "Team GB draw Uruguay, United Arab Emirates and Senegal for Olympics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  22. ^ "London 2012: Team GB announce Olympic warm-ups". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  23. ^ "Banyana face Cameroon and GB in final preparations for London". Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  24. ^ "Great Britain – New Zealand". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  25. ^ "Great Britain – Cameroon". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  26. ^ "Great Britain – Brazil". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  27. ^ "Great Britain – Canada". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  28. ^ Philipson, Alice (26 June 2012). "London 2012 Olympics: Hope Powell names first-ever Team GB women's football squad for Games". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  29. ^ "Dunia in for Dieke". She Kicks. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  30. ^ Fletcher, Paul (4 August 2012). "Olympics football: Hope Powell wants GB team in Brazil in 2016". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  31. ^ "GB women's football team could compete at Rio Olympics". BBC Sport. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Rio 2016: FA scraps plans for Great Britain football teams". BBC Sport. 30 March 2015.
  33. ^ "Great Britain's absence from Rio Olympics is devastating, says FA director". The Guardian. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  34. ^ "Team GB want women's football side at 2020 Olympics in Tokyo". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  35. ^ "Tokyo 2020: FA 'confident' of fielding Team GB side at Olympics". BBC Sport. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Home nations agree to GB women's football team". BBC Sport. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  37. ^ "OC for FIFA Competitions approves procedures for the Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup". FIFA. 14 September 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  38. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Team GB qualify for women's football tournament". BBC Sport. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  39. ^ McCurry, Justin; Ingle, Sean (24 March 2020). "Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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