For the men’s team event, 16 teams qualified, in what was the last table tennis event to be decided in Tokyo. In addition to hosts Japan, six teams qualified as winners of continental tournaments. The remaining nine teams were determined from a qualification tournament played in Portugal in January 2020. Five of the 16 qualified teams came from East Asia, seven from Europe, and the remaining four represented the rest of the world. Only Brazil, other than teams from Asia and Europe survived the first round.
Like in Rio, the team rounds were played in the so-called “Beijing System” of one doubles, two singles, and up to two more singles matches if required, as the first team to win three matches won the contest. All matches were played to the best-of-five games.
In the four rounds, the heavy favourites China did not lose a single match, winning 36 games and losing just seven in taking the gold medal. With Fan Zhendong, Ma Long, and Xu Xin the country called up the top three players in the world. Germany, the eventual silver medallists, had to survive two narrow 3-2 encounters in the quarter- and semi-finals against Chinese Taipei and Japan respectively. With Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the Germans included two veterans and former world No. 1 players who had won a medal at every Olympics since 2008. The other member of their Tokyo trio, Patrick Franziska, won his first Olympic medal.
The bronze medal was won by Japan, who beat South Korea 3-1. The first four teams in Tokyo are the only countries to have won a medal in the men’s team event since it was launched at Beijing in 2008.