Holders Brazil face Germany in Olympic football group stage
Egypt will meet Spain in the first match at the Sapporo Dome but the cynosure of all eyes will be on the game between Brazil and Germany under lights at the Yokohama International Stadium.
Memories will go back to the sheer ecstasy and joy in the Maracanã Stadium when Neymar Jr. netted the winning penalty kick at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 to secure Brazil the Men’s football Gold Medal.
In the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, the two teams will meet again on the very first day of Men’s competition. Hosts Japan will meet South Africa at the Tokyo Stadium, also under lights.
Spain-based Kubo Takefusa, widely tipped as the next Japanese star as he is contracted to Real Madrid, will be in action.
Germany, meanwhile, have included 14-cap Max Kruse of Union Berlin, Wolfsburg’s Maximilian Arnold and Nadiem Amiri of Bayer Leverkusen as their three overaged players, all with international experience to their name.
France have 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Florian Thauvin in their team while Mexico’s goal-keeper for the Olympics is Guillermo Ochoa, four-time World Cup participant who has won 114 caps for his country since 2005.
Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos lead a strong Spanish Team which includes goal-keeper Unai Simón, fresh off helping the senior national team reach the semi-finals of the European Championships.
Hosts Japan have included national team Captain Yoshida Maya and his 2018 FIFA World Cup teammates Sakai Hiroki and Endo Wataru as their three overaged players.
The three overaged players for Côte d’Ivoire are Eric Bailly of Manchester United, Franck Kessie of AC Milan and Sivasspor’s Max Gradel, who have 172 senior international caps between them.
Other teams with European experience include Egypt, who have called up Ahmed Hegazy (formerly of Aston Villa in England); Republic of Korea’s HWANG Ui-jo (Bordeaux in France); and New Zealand (Burnley’s Chris Wood). Brazil edged out Germany in a 5-4 thriller on penalties in the Gold-Medal match at Rio 2016 following a one-all draw after extra time.
Neymar Jr. and Max Meyer scored in regular time before a scoreless extra time period. All five Brazilian penalty takers scored while Nils Petersen missed for Germany.
Nigeria won Bronze after edging out Honduras 3-2 in the Bronze-Medal match.