Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
In 1962, England manager, Walter Winterbottom, predicted that an African team would win the World Cup by the end of the century. He was wrong but his prediction came true for the Olympics. Nigeria won the gold in 1996, and was followed by Cameroon in 2000.
The format of the Olympic tournament – most players are under 23 – is better suited to Africa, where the academies are more interested in youth than long term development.
Latin America has dominated since, allowing Paraguay to win its first ever medal in any sport. Despite this, Brazil lost to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in 2008 and Mexico in 2012, and has never taken the title. It will be desperate to rectify this omission on home turf.
Next: The very different profile of countries which excel at Olympic women’s football