The start of the Tokyo Olympics is almost upon us, and one of the most sought-after gold medals will come in the football tournament. The men Olympic football competition will get underway on Thursday, with each of the nations separating into four groups of four. You can find out more about the Tokyo football Olympics schedule below.
Tokyo Olympics Football Schedule
The Tokyo Olympics 2021 football competition will get underway on Thursday, July 22nd and will conclude with the gold medal match in August 2021. Each team has been drawn into a group, where they will play every nation once.
The top two teams from each of the groups will progress through to the knockout stage. Then, the teams compete in one-off fixtures to decide the two teams that will square off in the final match at the football in Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Men’s Olympic Football Tokyo 2020 Teams
The Tokyo Olympics football teams that will be competing this summer has already been decided. Sixteen teams were in the draw, with the nations drawn into four different groups. Matches between the nations in the football at Tokyo Olympics competition will be played at various stadiums across the host nation of Japan. The top two teams from each group will reach the knockout stage.
Group A in the Tokyo Olympics football tournament is made up of France, Mexico, South Africa and hosts Japan. The hosts will be boosted for the Tokyo 2020 competition with the experience of former Southampton defender Maya Yoshida.
Group B looks to be the most wide-open of the groups in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics football competition. Honduras and Romania are in this group. Meanwhile, New Zealand will be led by Premier League duo Winston Reid and Chris Wood. South Korea round off the group. However, they will be without Tottenham star Son Heung-min for the Olympic Games.
Argentina will come into the Tokyo Olympics 2020 football schedule in good confidence, after recently winning the Copa America. The Argentinean side last won the gold medal at the Beijing Games, with Lionel Messi among the stars. Australia face an uphill battle to make it out of the group, but it will give an experience to Daniel Arzani, who was the youngest player to play for the nation at a World Cup.
Egypt will be without Mohamed Salah. The Egypt head coach was hoping to get permission from Liverpool for the winger to be one of their overage players. Spain are many people’s pick to win the Olympic gold. They have named several players that represented the nation at the EUROs in their squad.
Reigning Olympic champions Brazil are in Group D for the men Olympic football competition. Dani Alves is among the stars included in their final squad, as is Everton’s Richarlison. Germany will be led in Group D by Max Kruse and Maximillian Arnold. Manchester United duo Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo are included in the Ivory Coast squad. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia look to face a challenge to reach the next round in this challenging Olympic football tournament group.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Soccer Stadiums
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics soccer tournament will be staged across Japan. There are seven venues set to be used for the event. The host city of Tokyo will welcome teams for the gold medal match, as the final takes place at the Olympic Stadium. Fixtures in the quarterfinals will take place in:
- Kashima (Ibaraki Kashima Stadium),
- Rifu (Miyagi Stadium),
- Yokohoma (International Stadium Yokohama)
- Saitama (Saitama Stadium).
Group games will also see fixtures played at the Sapporo Dome and Tokyo Stadium.
About Tokyo Olympics 2021 Football
Unlike other major footballing tournaments, there are specific rules that comes with the Tokyo Olympics. Below, we will run through how the teams reached the competition and the unique rules that nations must follow for Olympic football.
How Did the Teams Qualify For the Olympics
All nations, except Japan, needed to qualify for the Olympic Games this summer through continental confederations championships. Japan were awarded a place due to being hosts for the games. France, Germany, Spain and Romania earned their spot in Tokyo due to their performances in the European Under 21 Championship. Meanwhile, New Zealand booked their spot through the Olympic Qualification Tournament.
The Ivory Coast, Egypt and South Africa booked their passage through the U23 Cup of Nations. Meanwhile, South Korea, Australia and Saudi Arabia won qualification through the AFC U23 Championship. Argentina and Brazil earned their spot in the Pre-Olympic Tournament, while Mexico and Honduras also won a CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship.
Tournament Rules & Structure
The men’s and women’s rules are entirely different for Olympic football. Men’s football nations participating in the Games must have a squad predominantly make up of players under the age of 23. That means only players born on or after January 1 1997 can take part in Tokyo. Squads were assembled in April 2021.
However, squads can include three over age players in their squad. The structure of the tournament is made up of four European and Asian nations, three African teams, two South American sides and two nations from North America. The line-up is rounded off with a nation from Oceania.
African Teams in Olympics Football
The teams that will be representing Africa in the Summer Olympics were decided at the U23 Cup of Nations in 2019. The top three ranked sides from the competition earned their place in the Olympics, which were due to take place the following year.
Egypt were crowned champions of the U23 Cup of Nations for the first time in their history in November 2019, as they beat Ivory Coast in the final. South Africa booked their passage to Tokyo after a nervy penalty shootout win against Ghana in the third-place match.
Viewer Attendance and Olympics Football Tickets
The Olympic football competition looks set to be an excellent showcase for a broad range of new talent around the world. Fans will be able to watch the action from the comfort of their homes. United Kingdom residents can watch all Olympic Games on the BBC red button.
Meanwhile, US viewers can watch games on the USA Network and NBCSN. All games will also be broadcast on the Olympic Channel. These broadcasters will be the only way to watch the action, as it was revealed that all events during the Tokyo Games would be taking place behind closed doors.
Tokyo Olympics 2020 Women’s Football
The women’s football competition is a slightly condensed version of the men’s. There are just three groups in total, with four teams in each. Team GB will be in Group E alongside Japan, Canada and Chile. Brazil will come up against the Netherlands, China and Zambia. Meanwhile, the clear favourites to win the gold medal, the USA will be playing against Sweden, New Zealand and Australia in Group G.
As well as the top two from each group, the best-placed third side will also make it through. Matches will then be played in the quarterfinals, and semi-finals to narrow the competition to two. The gold medal match will take place at the Olympic Stadium in early August.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Football Betting Odds
Betting markets are available to punters so that they can bet on the winner of the gold medal in the men’s and women’s tournaments. Below, you will find the latest odds for Tokyo 2021 Olympics soccer winner in the respective competitions:
- Spain to win the tournament – 2.72
- Brazil to win – 3.8
- France to win – 6
- Germany to win – 7.5
- Argentina – 7.5
Tokyo Olympics Football Predictions & Betting Tips
Olympic football is a very difficult competition to predict, as many of the players on show have never been seen on the global stage previously. Ivory Coast could be among the outside selections, as they have solid depth in the key areas. Eric Bailly could also be a pivotal player at the heart of the defence.
However, Spain certainly look like the nation to beat. Luis de la Fuente has an excellent mix of talented youth and experience in key areas. Mikel Oyarzabal, Pedri, and Pau Torres are among the six EURO 2020 squad members included. Meanwhile, in Rafa Mir, they have a striker more than capable of finding the net in the Olympic Games.