In total, eleven countries participated in the Games, but only six took part in the football tournament. One of those was Japan, who had been barred from the 1948 Summer Olympics due to being under Allied occupation at the time. (Japan made the most of the opportunity by collecting a total of 60 total medals, 24 of which were golds, the most of any country in either category. India were second in both.)
India cruised through their first two matches with ease, beating Indonesia then Afghanistan by the same score: 3-0. Iran similarly started well with a 2-0 victory over Burma in the quarterfinals, but fought two closely-contested matches against Japan in the semifinals, first drawing 0-0, then edging Japan 3-2 in the replay. Japan still medalled, beating Afghanistan 2-0 in the third-place game, while India took the gold with their victory over Iran.