We have arrived at the match football fans following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been waiting for. The pack has been whittled down to just two sides, and an exciting game awaits as Brazil and Spain face off to decide the gold medal on Saturday 7 August from 12:30 GMT. These nations are both competing for the top spot on merit, having battled through the groups and knockout rounds of the competition. Will we see Brazil win gold, or can Spain make up for what was a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign from the senior squad?
This match has all the ingredients of a pulsating contest and is worthy of the gold medal game. The nations look to be evenly matched on paper, but which one will hold their nerve? If the rivals can’t be split after 90 minutes of play, we will progress to extra time and then penalties if required. An extended match would follow the recent trend from this competition after both semi-finals went at least 120 minutes. Buckle up for another rollercoaster ride as Brazil and Spain refuse to give up on gold, having come this far. There will be tension in the air, but armchair fans following the live TV action will enjoy seeing some of the top players in action.
The contenders both started as favourites with many respected pundits last month, so there is no major shock in the final. Host nation Japan were eliminated at the last four stage following a strong run to the semi-final but the locals being knocked out won’t dampen the atmosphere. Our team of football writers preview one of the biggest matches of the summer and the final international game of note before attention turns to the new club seasons, including the Premier League and La Liga.
Brazil within touching distance
Brazil go into most major international tournaments as one of the early favourites to go all the way, and Tokyo 2020 was no different. Football fans want to see how strong the Samba Boys future is and the emerging talent they should be looking out for in the coming years. From the players’ point of view, they will be eager to win the gold medal and stake a claim for a place at the next World Cup in Qatar 2022. The stars will want to prove themselves the best at the Olympic Games and show Brazil are heading in the right direction again after conceding ground. Do the squad have what it takes to achieve that? They have certainly looked the part so far.
The group stages of Tokyo 2020 say Brazil finish as winner of pool D with seven points claimed from a possible nine. Their form at that period was two wins and a draw despite barely getting out of first gear. They are experienced enough not to give their all in the early exchanges and save their best efforts for the knockout rounds. After progressing as Group D winners, Brazil beat Egypt 1-0 in the quarter-final but had to roll up their sleeves to get the win. Da Cunha was the goal hero that day, finding the net and striking what was to prove the match-winning goal on 37 minutes.
In the previous round, Brazil beat Mexico to reach the final, but that was another close contest and one that went all the way to penalties. Despite having plenty of talent in attack, the teams couldn’t be separated, with the 90 minutes producing a 0-0. An extra 30 minutes didn’t make too much difference, meaning the game went to the lottery, which is penalties. Brazil held their nerve to win 4-1 from the spot and keep their dreams alive.
Spain battled past the hosts
Spain were equally impressive during the early exchanges and won their group without hitting their stride. They were dropped into Group C alongside Egypt, who finished as runners-up, Argentina flopped in third, and Australia did what was expected of them when they finished bottom. The pool champions collected only five points from a possible nine but were unbeaten in their first three, ending with one win and two draws. They opened with a draw against Egypt, beat Australia and drew with Argentina on the final day to progress in pole position. It wasn’t exactly inspiring, but they got the job done.
In the quarter-finals, Spain took on the Ivory Coast and finally hit their stride. They were expected to win the match and did just that, blasting their opponents out of the competition courtesy of a 5-2 scoreline. It was a real show of strength from the team and was the level of performance football fans had been waiting to see from them. With the senior squad failing to deliver at Euro 2020, the pressure is on the youngsters to show they have what it takes to bring the glory days back to Spanish football and challenge for major honours. Winning gold would help achieve that.
Spain were last in action on Tuesday when beating host nation Japan in the semi-final. That sent them through to play for the gold medal, denying the locals a shot at winning on their patch. That game went all the way, finishing 0-0 after 90 minutes, but Spain did have the fitness and skill to get the win. Asensio made the difference with 115 minutes on the clock as he scored the goal that sent his teammates through to the final round.
Brazil v Spain prediction
Brazil were the more impressive team in the group stages, but Spain shone brightest in the quarter-finals when scoring five goals. Neither team looked overly confident in the semi-final, but nerves played a part that day. Hopefully, the players can leave that at the door and, having made the final, go out and enjoy the occasion. There will be tension in the air again, but it’ll be great character building for the players who want to show they can perform under pressure.
Tokyo 2020 odds
The pre-match betting available at 22bet has Brazil priced at 3.44 to win gold with Spain 3.7 and the draw available at 1.94.
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