1910, 1911 and 1912 – The 1912 Olympics and New Entrants into FIFAThe rest of 1910 and 1911 were relatively uneventful. On June 29th 1912, the football tournament at the Olympic Games was about to begin. 16 national selections played in this tournament, equalling the size of the World Cup. However, they were exclusively from Europe and North America. What happened in this tournament sent shockwaves throughout the footballing world.
The first match was contested by a combined Great Britain team. Due to the FA being banned from FIFA, this team could not field English players, so it was exclusively made up of Scottish and Welsh players. This combination defeated Belgium 7-0. The second match, Hungary v France, gave the French their first ever victory in an international tournament, scoring 3 goals against Hungary’s 1. Finland and Italy made their international tournament debut; Finland stomped Italy 5-0. Russia would make their debut in the next match, recently being accepted into FIFA, but they would be beaten out by the Canadians 2-0. Reigning “World Champions” Denmark defeated Bohemia 4-1. Norway and the United States, both debutants, faced each other in the next match, and the USA barely beat out Norway 3-2. The next two matches featured hosts Sweden and Austria facing the Netherlands and Germany respectively. Expectedly, neither team was up to par to their previous skill level, and were knocked out by their opponents 4-2 and 2-0 respectively.
The quarter-finals featured a heated match between the British and the French, their first ever international encounter. The British would come out on top 2-1. Finland faced Canada and was decimated 6-1. The next match was the biggest surprise of them all: the United States, in their second ever match against a European team, which just so happened to be the reigning World Champions, knocked out Denmark 4-1, advancing to the semi-finals. The Netherlands and Germany had an exhausting game that ended 7-3.
The semi-finals were even more shocking; Canada defeated Great Britain 2-1 after extra time, and the United States scraped a win against the Netherlands 1-0. For the first time ever in an international competition, two North American teams would face each other in the final. Great Britain kicked the Netherlands to the curb 4-0 to take the bronze medal, and all that was left was Canada vs. the United States, a match that would kick-start a long footballing rivalry between the two nations. After a very intense match, the United States managed to triumph over Canada 5-3 and took their Olympic gold. Media outlets dubbed them the unofficial World Champions for both knocking out the reigning World Champion and coming out on top of an extremely similar competition to the World Cup.
Europe’s footballing crown had been taken. Canada and the United States sat on top of the world in terms of international footballing clout, and fans were anxious to see how they would perform in the 1914 World Cup.
Between 1910 and 1913, the following associations entered FIFA: