Germany and France clinched berths in the Rio 2016 Olympic women’s soccer tournament by reaching the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, while the third and final European berth will be decided in a later four-nation playoff.
Europe is the only continent to use the Women’s World Cup as an Olympic qualifying tournament. The three-time reigning Olympic champion U.S. will try to qualify via a later CONCACAF tournament.
The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland all lost in the World Cup round of 16 and will compete against each other in a tournament in early March 2016 for one Olympic berth, according to reports.
Germany and France are the top two European nations in FIFA’s rankings. Germany is No. 1, followed by the U.S. at No. 2 and France at No. 3.
Germany failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics because it lost in the 2011 Women’s World Cup round of 16. It ranked No. 2 behind the U.S. by FIFA going into the London Games and was the highest-ranked nation not competing in London.
Sweden is currently ranked No. 5. Norway is No. 11. The Netherlands is No. 12. Switzerland is No. 19.
England reached the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals but doesn’t count for Olympic qualifying because Great Britain will not attempt to field a team for the Rio Games.
If Norway wins the European playoff, the U.S. and Canada earn the two CONCACAF berths and China and Japan get the two Asian berths, then every nation that has won an Olympic women’s soccer medal will be represented at the Rio 2016 Olympics.