Brazil vs Spain match preview Olympics final

MATCH PREVIEW: SPAIN VS BRAZIL, THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS MEET A REJUVENATED LA ROJA IN THE BATTLE FOR GOLD

will meet in the final of the men’s football tournament at the . Both teams will be looking to shake off the disappointment that their senior team endured recently by clinching the gold medal. While Brazil were taken all the way to a penalty shootout in order to defeat Mexico, La Roja scored deep into extra-time against Japan in a hard fought win.

 

 

Spain had to really earn their win over Japan due to the hosts’ stubborn defending. Luis de la Fuente’s team have struggled in front of goal at times evidenced by just eight goals so far, five of which came against Ivory Coast. Despite possessing some of the best attackers in Europe and players who played at the Euros, breaking down opposing back-lines is something that clearly needs work.

 

 

They are known to dominate possession right from the start which Brazil will be wary of but what matters is how they use that. Most often it is just passing amongst themselves without really posing a threat. Given how attack-minded Brazil’s strikers are, the defence will really have to step up in the final.

 

 

The Selecao were at their defensive best in the semi-final, with a disciplined 0-0 to finish the game. Andre Jardine’s side are unbeaten in their last 11 games and have only conceded three goals. They have a settled defence that has started every match while their greatest asset is the attacking talents.

 

 

Richarlison, Cunha, Antony, Claudinho and others have given Brazil a superior edge in most of their encounters but like the semi-final showed, they can be stopped. The defending champions have not had a easy route to the final, underlined by their recent tough wins. However, if they bring their A-game in attack as well as remaining compact at the back, they will be able to pick up a second consecutive gold.

 

TEAM NEWS

Spain have mostly a settled team to feature in this important clash. The only alteration that they can do is choosing which three attackers to start the match with. Marco Asensio was left out for Rafa Mir against Japan, but the Real Madrid player can be set for a recall.

SPAIN PROBABLE LINE-UP: Unai Simon; Vallejo, Torres, Garcia, Cucurella; Pedri, Zubimendi, Merino; Olmo, Oyarazabal, Asensio

 

 

Brazil have made no alterations with their back-line and the only key absentee was Matheus Cunha who was injured against Egypt. Jardine will have to take the call of whether to stick with Paulinho or choose between Gabriel Martinelli and Reiner.

BRAZIL PROBABLE LINE-UP: Santos; Alves, Nino, Carlos, Arana; Luiz, Guimaraes; Richarlison, Claudinho, Paulinho; Antony

 

GAMECHANGERS

SPAIN- MIKEL OYARZABAL

The 24-year-old has been having a blockbuster summer for both Spain squads. After impressing with the senior team at the Euros, Oyarzabal has become a key figure at the Olympics. He has already scored two goals and assisted a further two, including the winner against Japan. Oyarzabal can play either as the central striker or out on the right which provides a dual threat. The Real Sociedad attacker has the knack of getting the ball at the right time, and getting his shots away quickly.

 

 

Against Brazil, he will definitely prove to be a handful for the left-back Arana. Oyarzabal loves jinking runs at the opposition players or crossing for the support inside the area. Furthermore, his pace on the turn will worry Douglas Luiz who usually sits in front of the defence. If Luiz is left beaten, Oyarzabal can feast well. Brazil need to make sure they do not allow him too much time on the ball near the danger areas.

 

BRAZIL- ANTONY

It remains to be seen whether Jardine sticks with Antony as the striker up top or moves him to his usual right flank position. Wherever he plays from, the 21-year-old is one of the trickiest players to defend against. Antony loves to take on his man and beat defenders whether due to pace or skills. He has been an ever-present in the Olympics, racking up a passing accuracy of 79% while completing half of his dribbles. Antony will be up against Cucurella who will need to be on his toes against the fleet-footed attacker.

 

 

Though he has not managed make a goal contribution yet, his overall play helps the team get better in attack. Additionally, he has extreme pace to get by defenders who will worry the sometimes nervy Spanish defence. La Roja’s back-line was troubled majorly at times due to Japan getting in behind and if Brazil can do the same, they will be in a solid position to win.

 

PREDICTIONS

This will be a heavyweight clash featuring arguably two of the best sides in the Olympics. The defending champions do have the slight edge on paper but Spain’s resilience cannot be understated. FootTheBall predicts a 1-0 win for Brazil in the final

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