Some of the best soccer in the world takes place every four years at the Olympics and in qualifying matches. And you can easily watch it without cable. Read on to learn how.
In a hurry? All of these services provide excellent coverage of Olympic soccer — and a lot more:
- FuboTV: The best streaming service for international sports also provides 120+ well-selected channels. FuboTV allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.
- Sling TV: This low-cost service allows you to select just the channel lineup you want. Save 50% on your first month of Sling TV.
- DIRECTV STREAM: Get a great channel lineup with the best selection of RSNs in the industry. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
Unfortunately, we don’t know a streaming service in that covers this sport. But if you’ve already paid for the right service, and just can’t watch because of your location, there is an easy way to get the content you deserve. You need a VPN, like one of the following.
- ExpressVPN: Premium VPN provider that just works, with 3,000+ locations in 94 countries. Supports five simultaneous devices and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. (ExpressVPN review)
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- NordVPN: Connect to over 5,000 premium servers in 60+ countries. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
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Table Of Contents
Olympic soccer has had a storied history, and it brings together many of the largest crowds at the Summer Games every four years. There, the men’s sides are mostly U-23 teams while the women’s squads are full international sides, all looking to play six contests with the sixth being a medal match.
However, of course, countries need to qualify to even get into that position. And qualifying matches and competitions are scheduled before the Games, sometimes years before.
If you are based in the US, NBCUniversal is where you should focus your attention in order to watch all of the Olympics coverage available there, not just soccer matches. However, do note that qualifying contests are often shown through other outlets.
Soccer has been an important part of the Olympics almost from the very start. But women’s participation is relatively new.
Men’s Olympic Soccer
Soccer at the Olympics predates the FIFA World Cup by three decades with it first being held at the 1900 Games.
With that said, as was the case for most of the history of the Olympics, only amateur players could take part during this time and all the way through to 1984. However, never have full national teams been allowed. Currently, all members of a squad must be U-23 (under 23 years of age) players with the exception of three, who may be of any age.
Great Britain dominated this competition in the early going, winning the gold medal in 1900, 1908, and 1912 while Canada won it in 1904, and Belgium took home that prized possession in 1920. Meanwhile, prior to Uruguay winning the 1930 World Cup, Uruguayan amateur teams won the Olympics in 1924 and 1928.
Only one country besides Great Britain has won gold in this sport three times; the other is Hungary (1952, 1964, and 1968). Meanwhile, Argentina, Brazil, and the Soviet Union join Uruguay with two golds apiece.
Currently, 16 countries take part in the Olympics in men’s soccer. They are divided into four groups of four teams apiece, and that phase is followed by quarterfinals, semifinals, and medal matches.
The qualifying process varies throughout the world.
In the CONCACAF region, the 2022 U-20 Championship is being used as the qualifier. This event is scheduled for June 18th through July 3rd of that year. Honduras is the host country. Twenty teams take part with the two finalists qualifying.
Meanwhile, this competition also qualifies teams for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Women’s Olympic Soccer
The first women’s soccer competition at the Summer Olympics took place in 1996. Atlanta was the host to the Games that year. However, no matches were actually played in Georgia’s capital city. The US won the gold medal with a 2-1 win over China in the final match, which was held in Athens, GA.
The US-dominated through the first five Olympiads, winning four golds and one silver with the lone runner-up appearance the result of a 3-2 loss to Norway in extra time in the 2000 gold medal match. However, times then changed. Germany became Europe’s second champion with a title in 2016 while Canada took home the prize in 2021.
Throughout its history, the women’s competition has involved the world’s best professional players. No roster restrictions have ever been in place.
This sport’s format consists of a group stage involving a trio of four-team groups with eight of those 12 sides advancing to the quarterfinals. Two semifinal contests and a pair of medal matches follow.
The world’s regions qualify teams for the Olympics in different ways.
CONCACAF countries initially looked to take part in the 2022 W Championship, which was scheduled for July 4th through July 18th of that year in Mexico. The eight teams qualified for this competition and then aspired to secure one of two Olympic spots. The winner claims the first while the second- and third-place finishers advance to a playoff against each other, to be played in September 2023.
Note that the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship doubles as a 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier.
These French venues will host soccer matches at the 2024 Games: Allianz Riviera (Nice), Parc des Princes (Paris), Parc Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon), Stade de la Beaujoire (Nantes), Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (Saint-Etienne), Stade Velodrome (Marseille), and Stade Matmut Atlantique (Bordeaux).
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Watching Olympic Soccer
Olympic soccer matches can generally be streamed or watched on television throughout the world.
For those in the US, football matches may be watched through various NBCUniversal outlets. For the 2020 Games, which were played in 2021, US women’s matches were shown on USA and the now-defunct NBC Sports Network.
Games were also available to stream through Peacock Premium ($4.99/mo). This general arrangement minus NBCSN is expected to also be in place for the soccer matches in 2024.
However, note that broadcasting rights for qualifiers are awarded separately.
Meanwhile, ViX (free) is offering US-based fans streaming access to matches with Spanish-language commentators describing the play.
The broadcasting rights for the 2022 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship have not yet been awarded. For what it is worth, Fox Soccer Plus and TUDN combined to broadcast the final of the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship.
You can watch much of this with these live TV streaming services:
- FuboTV: Offers access to all of this with its base plan for $69.99/mo and various add-ons. You also get 1000 hours of cloud DVR storage and streaming on up to 10 devices at once. (FuboTV review)
- DIRECTV STREAM: Get all the channels you need with plans starting at $69.99/mo. They all come with unlimited cloud DVR storage and streaming on unlimited devices at the same time. (DIRECTV STREAM review)
- Sling TV: The Sling Blue plan costs just $40.00/mo and you can add Sports Extra for another $11/mo to set up up to watch all of the Olympics. Comes with streaming on up to 3 devices and 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. (Sling TV review)
- Hulu + Live TV: Get 85+ live TV channels along with ESPN+ and Disney+. Comes with unlimited cloud storage and streaming on 2 devices. (Hulu + Live TV review)
- YouTube TV: Provides a Hulu-like plan that will allow you to watch Olympic soccers.
Those looking to catch Olympic soccer matches in Canada should check out CBC, TSN, and RDS (check out FuboTV). Meanwhile, the BBC and Eurosport team up to showcase the action from the Olympics to viewers in the UK.
Fans based in France, where those Games are taking place, will be heading to France Télévisions to tune into the soccer action as well as widespread coverage of the rest of the sports events that summer.
Live Stream Devices for Olympic Soccer
All the streaming services we’ve discussed provide excellent support for streaming devices. They all support the following:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android mobile
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Samsung smart TVs.
DIRECTV STREAM also provides its own device but otherwise, you are left with only those. The other services support LG, Samsung, and VIZIO smart TVs as well as Xbox gaming systems. Hulu and YouTube also support PlayStation units.
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The Olympics are among the most important events that soccer players will ever be a part of. That’s true on both the men’s and women’s sides. And as a result, interest in it is high.
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