Great Britain women's Olympic football team

Great Britain
Association The FA
Head coach vacant[1]
Captain Casey Stoney[2]
Most caps 11 players (5)
Top scorer Steph Houghton (3)
First colours
Second colours
First international
Great Britain 0–0 Sweden
(Middlesbrough, United Kingdom; 20 July 2012)
Biggest win
Great Britain 3–0 Cameroon
(Cardiff, United Kingdom; 28 July 2012)
Biggest defeat
 Great Britain 0–2 Canada 
(Coventry, United Kingdom; 3 August 2012)
Olympic Games
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.[3] 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.[4]


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,[5] 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.

London 2012

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,[6] but the Scottish Football Association (SFA) refused even to attend meetings at which the Home Nations were to discuss the possibility[7] and the Football Association of Wales withdrew from the negotiations.[8] 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.[9][10]

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.[11][12] 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,[13] 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.[4] 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.[14] In November 2011 the Professional Footballers' Association had to warn the SFA, FAW and IFA against trying to "intimidate" players into not taking part.[15]

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.[16] Fleeting's team mate 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."[9] Fellow Scots Rachel Corsie and Jennifer Beattie also expressed interest,[17] as well as Everton's Welsh winger Gwennan Harries.[18]

In October 2011, England manager Hope Powell was appointed head coach of the women's team.[1] 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.[19] In June 2012 The Belfast Telegraph reported that three Northern Ireland players had been selected in the final squad.[20] 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."[21]


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.[22] The draw was held on 24 April 2012 and added New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil to Great Britain's group.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25] 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  64' Report
Great Britain  3–0  Cameroon
Stoney  18'
J. Scott  23'
Houghton  82'
Attendance: 31,141[27]
Great Britain  1–0  Brazil
Houghton  2' Report
Attendance: 70,584[28]
Referee: Carol Anne Chenard (Canada)
Great Britain  0–2  Canada
Report Filigno  12'
Sinclair  26'
Attendance: 28,828[29]
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.[30] 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.[31]

Caps and goals updated as of 4 August 2012.

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


The future of the Great Britain team is uncertain, as the separate national teams will continue to compete in the FIFA Women's World Cup and the UEFA Women's Championship. 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.[32] 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).[33] 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.[34] The third-place finish England secured at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup would have qualified Great Britain for the Olympics.[35] In June 2015, British Olympic Association chief Bill Sweeney announced a campaign to get the team reinstated for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[36] 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.[37]

Olympic record

Olympics record
Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
1896 1992No women's football tournament
1996 2008Did not enter
2016Did not enter

See also


  1. 1 2 "Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell to lead GB Olympic teams". BBC Sport. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  2. "Stoney named GB women's captain". Eurosport. 8 July 2012. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  3. Team GB Olympic football deal angers nations BBC Sport. 21–06–11. Accessed 17–07–11
  4. 1 2 Team GB decision reached The FA. 21–06–11. Accessed 17–07–11
  5. Modest Hopes of British XI at Melbourne The Times; 15 November 1956; Subscription
  6. 'GB football team to enter Games', BBC Sport, 30 September 2006.
  7. No Scots for GB Olympic football, BBC Sport, 11 November 2005.
  8. Wales oppose GB Olympic football, BBC Sport, 6 December 2005.
  9. 1 2 Tony Leighton (4 September 2011). "Scotland's Kim Little wants to play for Great Britain at 2012 Olympics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  10. Jere Longman and Sarah Lyall (18 September 2011). "A British Soccer Team? What's That? Say Scots, Welsh and Irish". New York Times. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  11. Caborn blasts women's Games snub, BBC Sport, 4 December 2007.
  12. British Olympic Association's political own goal Mott, Sue. The Daily Telegraph. 18–12–07. Accessed 17–07–11
  13. Nations pave way for 2012 GB team, BBC Sport, 29 May 2009.
  14. "Great Britain Olympic football team agreement close". BBC Sport. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  15. "PFA warns against Olympic player 'intimidation'". BBC Sport. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  16. "Scotland's Julie Fleeting turns her back on Team GB for London 2012". The Guardian. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  17. "Glasgow City captain Rachel Corsie would accept Team GB call". BBC Sport. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  18. "FAW's Olympic stance frustrates Gwennan Harries". BBC Sport. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  19. "London 2012: Stuart Pearce says nations' Olympics stance saddens him". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  20. McKinley, Stuart (6 June 2012). "Northern Ireland women will make history at Olympics". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  21. "Irish Trio Not Set for Olympics (yet)". She Kicks. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  22. "GB Olympic football teams to play in Manchester, London and Cardiff". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  23. Gibson, Owen (24 April 2012). "Team GB draw Uruguay, United Arab Emirates and Senegal for Olympics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  24. "London 2012: Team GB announce Olympic warm-ups". BBC News. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  25. "Banyana face Cameroon and GB in final preparations for London". Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  26. "Great Britain – New Zealand". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  27. "Great Britain – Cameroon". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  28. "Great Britain – Brazil". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  29. "Great Britain – Canada". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  30. 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.
  31. "Dunia in for Dieke". She Kicks. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  32. Fletcher, Paul (4 August 2012). "Olympics football: Hope Powell wants GB team in Brazil in 2016". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  33. "GB women's football team could compete at Rio Olympics". BBC Sport. BBC. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  34. "Rio 2016: FA scraps plans for Great Britain football teams". BBC Sport. BBC. 30 March 2015.
  35. "Great Britain's absence from Rio Olympics is devastating, says FA director". The Guardian. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  36. "Team GB want women's football side at 2020 Olympics in Tokyo". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  37. "Tokyo 2020: FA 'confident' of fielding Team GB side at Olympics". BBC Sport. BBC. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
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