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|Most caps||11 players (5)|
|Top scorer||Steph Houghton (3)|
| Great Britain 0–0 Sweden |
(Middlesbrough, United Kingdom; 20 July 2012)
| Great Britain 3–0 Cameroon |
(Cardiff, United Kingdom; 28 July 2012)
| Great Britain 0–2 Canada |
(Coventry, United Kingdom; 3 August 2012)
|Appearances||1 (first in 2012)|
|Best result||Quarter-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. There is normally no team representing the United Kingdom at women's football: separate teams compete for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
With the 2012 Summer Olympics scheduled to take place in London, an Olympic football team was created to take the automatic qualifying place of the hosts. 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.
Team GB did not attempt to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but in 2018 announced their intention to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics. By agreement of the four home associations, the results of the England women's national football team would be used by Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the purposes of qualification.
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. The third national football association, the Football Association of Wales was founded in 1876 and a fourth, the Irish Football Association, (IFA), was founded in 1880. Football therefore developed with separate national teams representing separate associations for each of the countries of the United Kingdom and no 'United Kingdom football association' was ever formed. Whilst a team selected by the FA, sometimes including players from outside England, did represent the UK at men's Olympic football between 1908 and 1972, the UK had stopped entering teams into the Olympic football tournament by the time of the first women's football competition at the 1996 Games.
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. The British Olympic Association stated it would enter a football team, but the Scottish Football Association (SFA) refused even to attend meetings at which the Home Nations were to discuss the possibility and the Football Association of Wales withdrew from the negotiations. 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.
Having reached the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, England qualified for the Olympic tournament, as they had in 1996. However, they were unable to take their place at the 2008 Games in Beijing after the national football associations failed to reach an agreement on whether they could play. 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, 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. Although the announcement angered the other British football associations, who claimed not to have been consulted on the decision, the SFA admitted that it would have no grounds for preventing Scottish players from competing in the team. In November 2011 the Professional Footballers' Association warned the SFA, FAW and IFA against trying to "intimidate" players into not taking part.
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. 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." Fellow Scots Rachel Corsie and Jennifer Beattie also expressed interest, as well as Everton's Welsh winger Gwennan Harries.
In October 2011, England manager Hope Powell was appointed head coach of the women's team. 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. In June 2012 The Belfast Telegraph reported that three Northern Ireland players had been selected in the final squad. 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."
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. The draw was held on 24 April 2012 and added New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil to Great Britain's group. 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.
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. The first official game was a goalless draw against Sweden on 20 July.
|Great Britain||1–0||New Zealand|
J. Scott 23'
The following players were named in the squad for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The squad consisted of 16 English and two Scottish players. 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.
Caps and goals updated as of 4 August 2012.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|1||GK||Karen Bardsley||14 October 1984 (aged 27)||5||0||Linköping|
|18||GK||Rachel Brown||2 July 1980 (aged 32)||1||0||Everton|
|2||DF||Alex Scott||14 October 1984 (aged 27)||5||0||Arsenal|
|3||DF||Steph Houghton||23 April 1988 (aged 24)||5||3||Arsenal|
|5||DF||Sophie Bradley||21 October 1989 (aged 22)||4||0||Lincoln Ladies|
|6||DF||Casey Stoney||13 May 1982 (aged 30)||5||1||Lincoln Ladies|
|13||DF||Ifeoma Dieke||26 February 1981 (aged 31)||3||0||Vittsjö GIK|
|16||DF||Claire Rafferty||11 January 1989 (aged 23)||1||0||Chelsea|
|19||DF||Dunia Susi||11 August 1987 (aged 24)||0||0||Chelsea|
|4||MF||Jill Scott||2 February 1987 (aged 25)||5||1||Everton|
|8||MF||Fara Williams||25 January 1984 (aged 28)||5||0||Everton|
|12||MF||Kim Little||29 June 1990 (aged 22)||5||0||Arsenal|
|14||MF||Anita Asante||27 April 1985 (aged 27)||5||0||Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC|
|7||FW||Karen Carney||1 August 1987 (aged 24)||5||0||Birmingham City|
|9||FW||Ellen White||9 May 1989 (aged 23)||4||0||Arsenal|
|10||FW||Kelly Smith||29 October 1978 (aged 33)||4||0||Arsenal|
|11||FW||Rachel Yankey||1 November 1979 (aged 32)||5||0||Arsenal|
|15||FW||Eniola Aluko||21 February 1987 (aged 25)||5||0||Birmingham City|
|17||FW||Rachel Williams||10 January 1988 (aged 24)||1||0||Birmingham City|
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|GK||Emma Higgins||15 May 1986 (aged 26)||0||0||KR|
|FW||Jessica Clarke||5 May 1989 (aged 23)||0||0||Lincoln Ladies|
|FW||Jane Ross||18 September 1989 (aged 22)||0||0||Glasgow City|
After the team was eliminated from the 2012 Olympics, head coach Hope Powell expressed her wish that a team would be entered in future Olympics. 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). 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. The third-place finish England secured at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup would have qualified Great Britain for the Olympics.
In June 2015, British Olympic Association chief Bill Sweeney announced a campaign to get the team reinstated for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 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. 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 would be eligible to compete for an Olympic qualifying place.
|1896 – 1992||No women's football tournament|
|1996 – 2008||Did not enter|
|2016||Did not enter|
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