Japan U23 hosts South Africa U23 in round 1 of the Olympic Games. The match will be played on Thursday, July 22nd at Tokyo Stadium (Tokyo)
Of course, as the host of the upcoming Olympic Games, Japan did not play in any qualifications and got a direct place in the football tournament. At the last Olympics in Brazil, the Japanese did not manage to progress from the group, although the opponents were quite modest (Sweden, which, incidentally, finished last, Colombia, and Nigeria). But back in 1968 at the Olympics in Mexico City, the Japanese managed to win their only set of medals. In the semifinals, they lost to the future champions Hungarians, but they defeated the hosts of the tournament in the bronze medal match.
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South Africa is one of the main outsiders of the football Olympics. The Yellow-Greens got to the tournament thanks to the 3rd place taken at the African Championship among under-23 football teams. This will be only the 3rd Olympic Games for the South Africans. In 2000, they did not progress from the group, and the 2016 Olympics in London brought the same result. And the upcoming tournament will probably end in the same way.
In addition to the fact that South Africa is already one of the weakest national teams in the tournament, some of its players were also diagnosed with coronavirus. Understandably, the team was put on temporary isolation, and it couldn’t maintain the full-fledged training process. So, what can you expect from this match in such a situation? Of course, we will see the victory of Japan, but since the coefficient for this event is too small, we can raise it by combining a win with Over 1.5 goals scored. The hosts will most likely score two times on their own. Coach Hajime Moriyasu gathered a very powerful roster for this tournament. In addition to the natives, there are footballers from such European clubs as Zwolle, Saint-Truiden, Antwerp, Stuttgart, Sampdoria, Bologna, PSV, Manchester City, and Real Madrid. As a result, the audience will surely see at least two goals scored in the upcoming match, and the hosts will most likely start the Olympics with a victory.
Prediction for the match: Japan U23 to win and Over 1.5 goals scored