We have already seen the women’s football tournament kick off at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and on Thursday the men will begin their competition when all 16 sides start out on their quest for a gold medal in just over two weeks.
Matches take place throughout the day over in Japan and there are some tasty ones in among them, including a repeat of the 2016 final between Brazil and Germany. Spain, France and Argentina are also on show on what should be a decent day of football.
The pick of the matches in Group A on Thursday is the early kick off in the group as the 2012 champions Mexico take on a France side who have finally qualified after 25 years away and who will be looking to showcase their talents over the course of the event. The other match in it sees the home nation Japan beginning their quest for a gold medal for their country when they go up against a competitive South Africa side.
This group is the most even one of the four and so every match in it is going to be very competitive. The first game in it sees a New Zealand side who might be dark horses for this event taking on a hugely motivated South Korea outfit. When they are done we have Honduras looking to show their improvement at this level when they go up against a Romania team who have been hit hard by players being unavailable to them but who will want to prove they have enough here to get the job done.
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The real proper stuff comes along in the last two groups and the tournament actually kicks off in this section when the tournament favourites Spain get the competition up and running. They do so with a clash against Egypt who will want to prove their worth up front. When they are done the Copa America champions Argentina will take centre stage. They open their campaign against an Australia side who can never be underestimated given the effort they always provide.
The standout match of the entire opening day of action comes along in Group D on Thursday when the defending champions start their title defence when Brazil play off against the side they beat to win the gold five years ago in Germany. That is the later of the two matches in this section. The first one sees Saudi Arabia and Ivory Coast meeting in a match that both teams will be fully aware that they need a win given the other two teams in the group.
I’ll start the tournament off slowly and assist the runners and riders and where we’re at with everything before expanding the betting portfolio as the tournament goes on. There are a couple of bets that tempt me, not least the hosts Japan, but I’m not sure I want to be chasing big handicaps this early in the competition so I’ll give them a miss and instead focus on the support act to the big game down in Group D.
That sees Ivory Coast going up against Saudi Arabia and I’ve got to think the African outfit will get off to a winning start. There is no shortage of talent in this Ivory Coast side with the Manchester United pair of Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo as well as the former Leicester midfielder Max Gradel, Vakoun Issouf Bayo and the AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Saudi Arabia will probably set up to be hard to beat but there is enough class in this Ivory Coast side to overcome that and in a match both need to win to stand any chance of progressing I expect the Africans to get it done here.
Back Ivory Coast to beat Saudi Arabia for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Bet365