Previewing the Men’s Soccer Tournament at the Tokyo Olympic Games – Odds, Analysis, and Predictions
Despite being the most popular sport on planet earth, men’s soccer invariably falls down the pecking order at the Olympic Games. With track and field disciplines grabbing the bulk of the headlines, the so-called “beautiful game” doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
But what about betting on soccer at the Olympics? Well, that is a different story altogether.
Not only can we watch some of the world’s best players battle it out for a gold medal, but we can also make money while we do it. If that sounds good to you, I suggest you keep reading.
In this Tokyo 2020 Olympics men’s soccer betting preview, I cover all the bases. After looking at the bookies’ gold medal odds and assessing the groups, I analyze the teams before sharing my men’s soccer predictions for the Tokyo Olympics.
Let’s kick things off by checking out the latest odds for men’s soccer at Tokyo 2020.
Tokyo Olympics – Men’s Soccer Gold Medal Odds
Here are the latest men’s soccer odds for the Tokyo 2020. In order to get the best Olympics odds, make sure you shop around the top Olympic betting apps.
As you can see, there are five clear favorites to win gold – Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, and Germany. All these countries are heavyweights on the world stage and are expected to make light work of the competition.
Host-nation Japan is the first team outside the bookmakers’ group of frontrunners, along with Mexico, Ivory Coast, Romania, Egypt, and South Korea.
Underdogs Australia and South Africa are being given little chance of upsetting the odds, while Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Honduras are the rank outsiders.
Before we take a closer look at the teams and make some Tokyo Olympics soccer predictions, let’s investigate the groups and break down the format of the tournament.
Assessing the Groups and Tournament Format
The group stage commences on Thursday, July 22, with four groups of four teams competing in the first phase. Each side plays the other three teams in the group, with the top two from each group qualifying for the knockouts.
Teams were drawn into groups based on their results at previous Olympic Games, although Japan was automatically seeded in Group A.
It is worth noting that no group can contain more than one nation from each confederation. As a result, the three European powerhouses (France, Spain, Germany) have been kept apart, as have the two South American giants (Brazil, Argentina).
Ready to check out the groups? Great, let’s get right into it.
- South Africa
France is the obvious favorite to win Group A, but the second qualification spot is well and truly up for grabs. Both Japan and Mexico will fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals, while South Africa will be hoping to cause an upset.
- New Zealand
- South Korea
Featuring none of the bookies’ gold medal favorites, Group B is wide open. Romania and South Korea will likely occupy the top two places, but New Zealand and Honduras will view the openness of Group B as an excellent chance to make the last eight.
It goes without saying that Argentina and Spain should dominate Group C. The two frontrunners are both priced a below 6.00 to claim gold, while Egypt and Australia are priced at 67.00 and 201.00, respectively.
- Ivory Coast
- Saudia Arabia
This should be relatively straightforward for Brazil and Germany, although the bookmakers’ odds suggest that Ivory Coast could make waves in Group D. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia looks set for an early exit.
- Winner of Group A vs. Runner-up of Group B (Match 25)
- Winner of Group B vs. Runner-up of Group A (Match 26)
- Winner of Group C vs. Runner-up of Group D (Match 27)
- Winner of Group D vs. Runner-up of Group C (Match 28)
The knockout stage gets underway on Saturday, July 31, with all four quarter-finals taking place on the same day. Each group winner will face the runner-up from a different group.
- Winner of Match 25 vs. Winner of Match 27 (Match 29)
- Winner of Match 26 vs. Winner of Match 28 (Match 30)
On Tuesday, August 3, the two semi-finals take place. Match 29 will be played at Saitama Stadium, while Match 30 will go down at Kashima Soccer Stadium.
- Loser of Match 29 vs. Loser of Match 30 (Bronze Medal Match)
The two losing semi-finalists will then return to Saitama Stadium on Friday, August 6, going head-to-head for the bronze medal.
- Winner of Match 29 vs. Winner of Match 30 (Gold Medal Match)
Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium is the venue for the final on Saturday, August 7. The winner will claim gold, with the loser getting the silver medal.
Men’s Soccer Favorites at the Tokyo Olympics
Below, I analyze the five frontrunners to win men’s soccer gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Can the Brazilians Defend Their Crown?
As the reigning champion, Brazil is the team to beat this summer. The Brazilians avoided defeat on home soil at Rio 2016, beating Germany on penalties in the final.
Neymar was the star of the show at the previous Games, but the PSG superstar won’t be competing this time around. Still, coach Andre Jardine has plenty of high-profile players at his disposal.
38-year-old veteran Dani Alves – who has a whopping 118 international caps under his belt – has made the squad, along with up-and-coming youngsters like Gabriel (Arsenal), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Malcom (Zenit), Paulinho (Bayer Leverkusen), and Anthony (Ajax).
With one gold, three silvers, and two bronzes to their name, no nation has won more Olympic soccer medals than Brazil. Can the current crop of rising stars maintain the country’s dominance?
Write Off Argentina at Your Peril
Led by the likes of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, and Angel Di Maria, Argentines won back-to-back golds at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. However, they have failed to make it past the quarter-finals since then.
In fact, La Albiceleste failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London altogether before finishing eleventh in Brazil five years ago.
That said, you can never write off Argentina when it comes to international tournaments. The two-time World Cup winners are forever producing incredible young players, many of whom will be on display in Japan.
|ARGENINTA AT THE OLYMPICS (SOCCER)|
|Medal Type||Medals Won|
|Gold||2 (2004, 2008)|
|Silver||2 (1928, 1996)|
France’s Squad Is Full of Stars
After crashing out of Euro 2020 in the Round of 16, Les Blues will be desperate to restore some pride at the Olympics. With the senior side failing to live up to expectations, the next generation of French soccer players have the chance to make a name for themselves.
Sylvain Ripoll’s 18-man squad includes some notable names, with prodigies such as Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes), William Saliba (Arsenal), and Malang Sarr (Chelsea) included.
France’s roster boasts a couple of key over-23 players, too. Veteran striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and winger Florian Thauvin – who both play for Mexican giant Tigres – are bound to cause their opponents’ youthful backlines plenty of problems.
France sealed gold in 1984 but hasn’t always entered the Olympics since then. Let’s see what this new-look squad is made of.
Could the Spainards Win Gold?
Gold medalists in 1992, the Spaniards have missed three of the past four Games. They appeared at the 2012 Olympics but only managed to finish fourteenth in London.
Given that Luis Enrique didn’t name a single Real Madrid player in his Euro 2020 squad, Spain’s Olympic roster will feature Los Blancos stars like Marco Asensio. Having players of that caliber at the Olympics gives Spain a real chance of claiming a medal.
Germany Will Be Eager to Make Amends
Germany will be confident of getting on the podium in Tokyo after snagging silver at Rio 2016. Having finished as the runner-up last time around, the European heavyweight is among the bookies’ favorites to clinch gold this summer.
One thing is certain – the Germans know what it takes to win silverware. With four World Cup triumphs and three European Championship successes to their name, it wouldn’t be a shock if they went all the way in Tokyo.
Tokyo Olympics Men’s Soccer Outsiders
It is no secret that three of Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, and Germany are likely to occupy to podium places. But there are some underdog nations that could upset the Olympic soccer odds in Tokyo.
Here are three outsiders to keep an eye on.
Can Japan Upset the Odds-on Home Soil?
With the backing of the home crowd, Japan could ruffle the feathers of the favorites this summer. But it’s not just the home-field advantage that makes Japan a dark horse.
Real Madrid’s 20-year-old sensation Takefusa Kubo headlines a strong Japanese roster, alongside former EPL star Maya Yoshida and European-based players like Wataru Endo (VfB Stuttgart) and Ritsu Doan (PSV Eindhoven).
Japan finished fourth at the 2012 Olympics. With a better squad this time around, the host nation could go even further on home soil.
Never Underestimate Mexico
Having clinched gold in London back in 2012, Mexico is no stranger to tasting soccer success at the Olympics. But can the Mexicans repeat that feat in 2021?
Sadly, with the CONCACAF Gold Cup taking place at the same time as the Olympics, Mexico will be without a host of high-profile players in Tokyo. Still, the nation boasts more than enough quality to compete on both fronts.
Club America duo Henry Martin and Guillermo Ochoa bring a wealth of experience to the squad, as does Luis Romo (Cruz Azul). If the over-23 selections bring the A-game to Japan, Mexico could challenge for a medal.
Will Australia’s Young Stars Shine?
Of course, getting past Group C heavyweights Argentina and Spain won’t be easy. But if the Olyroos can make it to the knockout stage, they could cause a stir.
Graham Arnold’s squad contains one overage player – Mitch Duke – along with Harry Souttar (Stoke City) and multiple A-League regulars.
Can the best young Australian soccer players in 2021 guide their country to Olympic glory?
My Men’s Soccer Predictions for Tokyo
Ultimately, it is difficult to imagine a team from outside the bookies’ group of five favorites winning men’s soccer gold this summer.
While it would be an amazing story if Japan overcame the frontrunners to finish atop the podium, it will be extremely tough for the host nation to get the better of the powerhouses from Europe and South America.
The French arguably have the easiest group, as they avoid Argentina and Brazil, as well as their European counterparts.
Providing they win Group A, they will face the Group B runner-up in the quarter-finals. With New Zealand, South Korea, Honduras, or Romania waiting in the last eight, France’s path to the semi-finals looks straightforward.
I really like the look of Brazil’s roster, too, so backing the defending champions also makes sense. But if you’re looking for slightly better value, France is a great bet.
That’s it for my Tokyo 2020 Olympics men’s soccer betting preview. For more general Olympics betting tips, check out our guide to betting on the Olympics.