The men’s Olympic football tournament gets under way on Thursday and we have analysed the chances of the leading teams in Tokyo.
No European country has won the competition since Spain in 1992 but they are the favourites as we make our Olympic men’s football predictions.
SPAIN @ 2/1
Spain look to have by far the strongest squad at the Olympics, with Real Madrid duo Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos the standout names after missing out on Euro 2020. Goalkeeper Unai Simon has also joined the squad having been in goal for the Euros while RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo brings an attacking threat after impressing in this summer’s tournament. Spain were European Under-19 Championship winners in 2019 and the bulk of the squad are on duty in Tokyo, making them hard to oppose in Olympic men’s football predictions.
BRAZIL @ 11/4
Brazil are certainly not lacking experience in their Olympic football squad after the inclusion of Dani Alves, who has won 118 caps for his country and played at two World Cups. Everton striker Richarlison will be hoping to help Brazil make up for their Copa America disappointment while Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz and Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli add to the Premier League contingent, with the defence marshalled by Sevilla’s Diego Carlos. The South Americans are the defending champions and have won a medal in men’s football at the last three Olympic Games.
FRANCE @ 9/2
France are not at full strength with some of their best young players having instead played at Euro 2020 while others have been withdrawn by their clubs. Kylian Mbappe’s rumoured inclusion came to nothing and instead they will look to Tigres duo Andre-Pierre Gignac and Florian Thauvin to help them challenge for honours. A favourable draw has boosted their chances but we’d still be happy to swerve them in the outright Olympic men’s football odds.
GERMANY @ 8/1
Germany reached the final at Rio 2016 but were beaten on penalties by hosts Brazil. Only one squad member plays their football outside Germany but plenty have Bundesliga experience and Hertha Berlin midfielder Arne Maier is highly rated, having captained the Under-21 national team. They face Brazil in a daunting tournament opener but should be able to get out of a group which also contains Saudi Arabia and Ivory Coast.
ARGENTINA @ 8/1
Argentina coach Fernando Batista has a settled squad and is hoping to repeat the success that his brother enjoyed in 2008 when Sergio Batista guided a team featuring Lionel Messi to gold in Beijing. Their meeting with Spain should be one of the highlights of the group stage and they look to be in the toughest half of the draw but warm-up wins against Denmark (2-1) and Saudi Arabia (2-0) will have boosted the confidence of the four-time finalists.
JAPAN @ 14/1
The lack of spectators means Japan will not have the support that usually makes the host nation a tempting option in terms of betting tips. They have called up three regulars from their senior team to boost their chances, most notably Maya Yoshida who is Japan captain and has won more than a century of caps. Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino was left out, though, and it would be a surprise if Japan have enough quality to go all the way, although midfielder Takefusa Kubo looks one to watch.
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