Who are the favourites for gold in Olympic football? Spain, Brazil, Japan or Mexico?

The Olympic games have been packed with excitement for football fans. The summer football fiasco has already had its fair share of drama and unexpected results. The Olympic games were no different. Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Japan are the final four of the competition. France had a dismal campaign while Argentina and Germany also failed to shine. And although and were the favourites, their performances so far have been below par.

 

 

It was who had the better showing of the four so far. Even Mexico showed glimpses of excellent football leading up to this point. However, one of Europe’s best teams and South America’s favourites will still be considered the favourites to win the tournament, or will they? Let’s dissect what each of these teams has brought to the table and how they will fare heading into the semi-finals.

 

JAPAN

The best of the four teams so far, Japan has been scintillating in this tournament. The hosts won all three group games, against South Africa, France and semi-finalists Mexico. Although they needed a penalty shootout to get past New Zealand in the quarter-finals, the team will be confident they can push ahead in the competition.

 

 

Japan face Spain in the semi-finals, a tough opponent, but one that is treading uncertain waters at the moment. With the likes of Takefusa Kubo in the line-up, their chances of winning a medal look good. However, anything less than their best football will surely cost them. They have been boosted by the presence of a home atmosphere and will need to exploit the advantage against Spain.

Sampdoria defender Maya Yoshida will have to organise his defence to the best of his abilities if Japan hopes to stop Spain’s versatile attacking unit. Confidence and organisation will be key to Japan’s success in the semis.

 

MEXICO

The Mexicans netted 14 times this competition, the most of any semi-finalists. Outscoring every opponent except for Japan, Mexico has been a treat to watch. Free-flowing attacking football is characterised by their willingness to risk defensively to gain attacking momentum.

An emphatic win over South Korea, featuring nine goals, saw them score six times in the game. Martin Henry and Cordova Sebastian have been playing excellent football and their goal tally reflects their quality.

 

 

The Mexican’s have always been a team to watch out for in cup competitions and this time has been no different. However, their next opponent, Brazil, will not be an easy opponent to face. The Brazilians have surprisingly played a more defensive sided game rather than a top-heavy system.

Therefore, Mexico will have to be sharp in attack while also being wary of a counter-attack. The balance will be key for their survival. Even though Brazil hasn’t played the best football so far, their quality is a threat for any team.

 

SPAIN

Don’t be fooled by Spain’s quarter-final scoreline against Ivory Coast. The 5-2 scorecard is far from the accurate description of the game. If not for Rafa Mir’s magical presence off the bench, Spain should have been packing their bags.

The youngster came off the bench to equalise after Ivory Coast’s Gradel scored what seemed like the clincher in the first minute of added time. Rafa Mir equalised two minutes later to drag the match into extra time. He then went on to score two more goals to make it a hattrick, helping La Roja through to the semis in the process.

 

 

Winning just one game in Group C, scoring just twice, Spain did not look like a team capable of winning gold. Their 90 minutes against Ivory Coast also reflected the same attitude. Rafa Mir will be expected to start the next match after his mesmerising performance, but as a team, Spain will have to dig themselves up if they hope to move past a well organised Japan. Their quality is still the best of the four teams and so they remain the favourites to win gold.

 

BRAZIL

Brazil struggled against Egypt in the quarter-finals and had to work hard to earn the victory. Just a goal courtesy of Matheus Cunha pushed them through to the semi-final. They will take on North American rivals Mexico, which has been in stark contrast in terms of goals.

Yet, despite their less than perfect performances, the Selecao are the favourites alongside Spain to win gold. They will have the edge over the other teams, particularly as they possess two world-class experienced players in their squad.

 

 

Dani Alves, the most decorated footballer on planet earth has not yet lost his footing. His presence in Brazil’s line-up alone will boost their chances. Capable of attacking and defending, the Brazilian captain will be keen to add Olympic gold to his repertoire. Richarlison up-front came to Tokyo after helping Brazil reach the finals in Copa America. He is the tournament top scorer so far and might end up winning the golden shoe.

The Brazilians have been here before, they know what is needed and so have the edge against their opponents. P.S: Brazil has won a medal in the last three Olympic tournaments including gold in last year’s edition.

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