Looking back: Australia's previous Men's Olympic Football opponents

Ahead of this week's Tokyo 2020 draw, take a trip down memory lane to see who Australia has faced during their previous appearances at the tournament. 

This year's edition of the Games will mark the sixth time the nation participates in the Men's Football event after the Olyroos qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2008. 

Here is the low-down on every group Australia has been drawn into, from Barcelona 1992 to Beijing 2008 - and which nations we could potentially draw again this time around. 

READ: Explained - Wednesday's Men's Olympic Football Tournament draw 


1956 Melbourne Olympics 

Australia's first Olympic footballing experience came in a six-team tournament during the nation's first home Games. 

In a pure knockout format, Australia overcame this year's hosts Japan in the first round before suffering defeat to India in the second.

LIVE STREAM: Watch the draw from 6pm AEST 

1988 Seoul Olympics 

After a 22 year absence, Australia were drawn alongside Yugoslavia, Brazil and Nigeria on their Olympic return. 

Current Olyroos coach Graham Arnold featured as Australia enjoyed two group stage wins alongside a 3-0 loss to Brazil, where Romario famously scored a hat-trick. 

Approaching this draw, Australia have a 50/50 chance of drawing Brazil as their opponents out of Pot A. 

1992 Barcelona Olympics

Australia's appearance at Barcelona would turn out to be their best result in the tournament to date, culminating in a fourth-placed finish.

It all began in Group B alongside Mexico, Denmark and Ghana. A win, draw and loss was enough for Australia to advance into the quarter finals where they overcame Sweden  2-1.

A heavy defeat to Poland in the semi finals set up a bronze medal playoff against Ghana, which unfortunately finished in a narrow defeat.  

Mexico is the only one of Australia's 1992 opponents that will compete in Tokyo, however due to the draw's structure, Graham Arnold's side cannot face them until the knockout stages. 

Australia 1992 Olympics
Australia take on Ghana at Barcelona 1992

1996 Atlanta Olympics

Australia was again drawn in Group B four years later, where they faced European giants Spain and France, as well as Asia's Saudi Arabia.

The tough draw saw Australia endure a far less successful campaign than in Barcelona as they suffered a group stage exit.  

All three nations are involved at Tokyo 2020, however, with France ranked in Pot 4 and Saudia Arabia being in the same confederation, Australia can only draw Spain in the group stages. 

Australia 1996 Olympics
Australia v France at the 1996 Olympics

2000 Sydney Olympics

Australia was guaranteed its third consecutive Olympic appearance as hosts of Sydney 2000.

Their Group A opponents were Italy, who they memorably faced at a packed MCG to open the Games, as well as Nigeria and Honduras.

Unfortunately the Olyroos were unable to put on a show for the home support, again enduring elimination at the first hurdle. 

Honduras is the only one of the three opponents involved this time around, however would only be potential knockout stage opponents. 

Neill Gattuso Australia 2000 Olympics
Australia's Lucas Neill and Italy's Gennaro Gattuso at the 2000 Olympics

2004 Athens Olympics

2004 saw Australia drawn in Group C alongside Argentina, Tunisia and Serbia & Montenegro. 

Advancement through to the knockout stages set up a quarter final meeting with Iraq, where again the Olyroos were defeated by the narrowest of margins 1-0. 


Tim Cahill in action at the 2004 Olympics.
Tim Cahill in action against Argentina at the 2004 Olympics.

2008 Beijing Olympics

Australia's most recent Olympic appearance saw them drawn in Group A alongside Serbia, Ivory Coast and Argentina - for the second consecutive tournament.  

A 1-1 draw with Serbia was followed up by two narrow defeats to Argentina and Ivory Coast which ended the Olyroos' campaign at the group stages again.  

With Australia set to draw either Argentina or Brazil in the Tokyo 2020 draw, there is a strong possibility that Arnold's side could face their nation's familiar foes for a third-straight time, while they also have a one in four chance of facing the Ivory Coast again. 

Australia Argentina 2008 Olympics
The Olyroos taking on a young Lionel Messi and Argentina at Beijing 2008