Two weeks ago
Jul 21, 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Men's soccer tournament preview

Who are the favourites to win the Tokyo 2020 Men's soccer tournament?

Tokyo 2020 Men's soccer: Which teams could cause an upset?

Tokyo 2020 Men's soccer preview and odds

Tokyo 2020 Men's soccer medal hopes

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Men's soccer tournament preview

Some of the world’s most talented young soccer stars will be aiming to get their hands on an Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 Men’s soccer tournament. Can Brazil defend their title, will Japan win gold on home soil, or will another team top the podium? Read on for our Tokyo 2020 Men’s soccer tournament preview.

Tokyo 2020 Men’s soccer tournament: Schedule

Thursday, July 22 - Wednesday, July 28: Group stage

Saturday, July 31: Quarter-finals

Tuesday, August 3: Semi-finals

Friday, August 6: Bronze medal match

Saturday, August 7: Gold medal match

Tokyo 2020 Men’s soccer tournament: Groups

Group

Teams

Group A

France, Japan, Mexico, South Africa

Group B

Honduras, New Zealand, Romania, South Korea

Group C

Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Spain

Group D

Brazil, Germany, Ivory Coast, Saudi Arabia

The top two teams from each group will progress to the quarter-finals. From that point, the tournament is a straight knockout bracket, with the two losing semi-finalists also playing a bronze medal match. Each team was allowed to call up a squad of 22 players, including no more than three born on or before January 1, 1997.

Tokyo 2020 Men’s soccer tournament: Who are the favourites?

Team

Odds

Spain

2.940*

Brazil

4.040*

Japan

6.770*

France

7.060*

Argentina

10.090*

Germany

11.100*

South Korea

16.140*

Mexico

21.190*

Spain narrowly lead the betting market as favourites at 2.940* largely because they can boast a squad stacked with talent. Head coach Luis de la Fuente has called upon the likes of Unai Simon, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, and Pedri, all of whom recently reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 for their country, with the latter also picking up the Young Player of the Tournament award.

Led by Andre Pierre-Gignac, France's attack features a reliance on experience.

Other notable inclusions are Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio, Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos and RB Leipzig forward Dani Olmo. The sheer quantity and variety of talent available to Fuente should allow him to comfortably rotate his team amidst the tight tournament schedule, and anything less than a medal for the outright favourites would presumably be considered a disappointment.

Trailing Spain in the odds are Brazil (4.040*). The defending champions triumphed on penalties against Germany in the Rio 2016 final to earn their first-ever Men’s soccer gold, and similarly their squad selection implies they are keen to enjoy back-to-back titles. They will be captained by 38-year-old Dani Alves, who presently plies his club trade Sao Paulo, and his immense experience should prove valuable for the tournament.

True to form, Brazil possess several intimidating options in attack, including Hertha Berlin’s Matheus Cunha, who has 18 goals in 19 appearances at national under-23 level, Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli, and former Barcelona forward Malcom. While their midfield could be labelled a potential weak spot, they appear primed to rely on raw talent to overcome most other sides at the tournament.

Japan (6.770*) have been increasingly praised in recent years for their improving youth setup, meaning this tournament should provide an intriguing test for their squad. Their team is balanced between players who are based in their home nation and Europe at club level, and are captained by Sampdoria and former Southampton defender Maya Yoshida.

However, perhaps their most notable player is Real Madrid midfielder Takefusa Kubo. While he is yet to make a first team appearance for the club, he has recently enjoyed encouraging loan spells at Villarreal and Getafe and already has 11 caps at senior level for his country. Alongside PSV’s Ritsu Doan and Stuttgart’s Wataru Endo, he should be responsible for Japan fielding one of the most technically gifted midfields at the tournament.

While France’s (7.060*) squad was disrupted by several clubs refusing to release their players for the tournament, they can still field a strong team featuring a talented defence. Indeed, PSG’s Timothee Pembele, AC Milan’s Pierre Kalulu, and Real Sociedad’s Modibo Sagnan all enjoyed productive campaigns at club level, while goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni has been linked with several top European sides.

In attack, there is a more palpable reliance on experience, courtesy of former Newcastle United and Marseille forward Florian Thauvin and captain Andre-Pierre Gignac. While the latter has not made an appearance for his national team at any level since 2016, he has turned in consistently impressive numbers in the Liga MX, racking up 149 goals in 261 appearances for Tigres UANL.

Tokyo 2020 Men’s soccer tournament: Notable outsiders

South Korea (16.140*) have consistently proved themselves at youth level in Asia, winning gold in this event at both the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games as well as the 2020 AFC U-23 Asian Championship. They also arguably should have reached the semi-finals of this tournament at Rio 2016, losing 1-0 to Honduras in the quarter-finals in a match they largely dominated.

Kim Hak-bum’s squad is predominantly South Korea-based, with Bordeaux’s Hwang Ui-jo and Valencia’s Lee Kang-in the only exceptions. The latter is widely rated as a future talent, and set the La Liga record last season for being the youngest player ever to assist two goals in the same match.

While the Ivory Coast (51.430*) have been drawn in a difficult group containing both Brazil and Germany, their squad is scattered with notable names. Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is set to lead a back line also featuring Torino’s Wilfried Singo and Ajaccio’s Ismael Diallo, and with AC Milan’s Franck Kessie also patrolling the midfield, the team could easily prove to be a defensively resilient outfit.

Attacking options include Bailly’s club compatriot Amad Diallo and experienced forward Max Gradel. While Soualiho Haidara will require top performances from his team if they are to qualify from Group D, a run to the tournament’s latter stages seems within reach if they manage to achieve the feat.

Don't forget to also check out our preview of the Tokyo 2020 Women's soccer tournament. Get great odds and bet on numerous Olympics markets with Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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