2012 London Olympics: Men’s Football Preview

By JAMES SARGENT

Football matches will began before the Opening Ceremony, starting on Thursday, July 26. Tune in and watch as these under-23 teams compete for a gold medal in London.

Group A

Nations:

Great Britain, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay

Daniel Sturridge, forward, Great Britain

 

Five Notable Players:

Daniel Sturridge, forward, Great Britain

Luis Suarez, forward, Uruguay

Ismail Matar, forward, United Arab Emirates

Aaron Ramsey, midfield, Great Britain

Mohamed Diame, midfield, Senegal

 

Nations Advancing:

Great Britain and Uruguay

Great Britain is obviously a huge story for this years Olympics; one, because they are the host nation, and two, because they have not played in the Olympics since 1960. You are probably thinking how on earth could Great Britain not have qualified since 1960. The answer is because they haven’t even attempted too since 1972, due to a divide between the Football Associations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I have them advancing to the knockout stages along with Uruguay. Uruguay defeated Argentina, 2004 and 2008 gold medalists, to qualify for the Olympics. I believe they can keep up their great form and possibly translate it into an Olympic medal. As for Senegal and the United Arab Emirates, they are merely rookies to the Olympics and unfortunately will have an early exit.

 

Group B

Nations:

Gabon, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, forward, Gabon

 

Five Notable Players:

Giovani dos Santos, forward, Mexico

Diego Benaglio, goalkeeper, Switzerland

Ki Sung Yueng, midfield, South Korea

Marco Fabian, midfield, Mexico

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, forward, Gabon

 

Nations Advancing:

Mexico and Gabon

Even though Mexico will be missing Manchester United striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and newly acquired Real Sociedad striker Carlos Vela, their team will still be very strong, and in my opinion, the best team in Group B. As for that second team, I believe Gabon can fill that role. Many have South Korea advancing, but I believe Gabon’s victories over South Africa and the Ivory Coast in African Olympic qualifying will give them the confidence to excel. Switzerland’s only chance will be to ride goalkeeper Diego Benaglio and hopefully steal a goal here or there.

 

Group C

Nations:

Belarus, Brazil, Egypt, New Zealand

Neymar, forward, Brazil

 

Five Notable Players:

Neymar, forward, Brazil

Mohamed Aboutrika, midfield, Egypt

Ryan Nelsen, defender, New Zealand

Renan Bressan, midfield, Belarus

Oscar, midfield, Brazil

 

Nations Advancing:

Brazil and New Zealand

Believe it or not, Brazil will be seeking their first ever Olympic gold medal. Neymar, Oscar, Hulk, and many other studs will bolster a very stacked Brazil squad as they surely will finish as the best team in Group C. Speaking of Neymar, he is going to be the center of attention in London. He will arguably be the most talented player in the Olympic field and has a lot to show for. He is a wizard with the ball and will be looking to catch the eyes of multiple European managers as a potential transfer is in his future. It’s just a matter of time before Neymar leaves Santos in Brazil for the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, or a Premier League team. New Zealand is my second team to advance from pool play. They boast a very experienced team that went unbeaten in the 2010 World Cup pool play. I feel that what they did in 2010 and their experienced roster will give them a huge edge over Belarus and Egypt.

 

Group D

Nations:

Honduras, Japan, Morocco, Spain

Juan Mata, midfield, Spain

 

Five Notable Players:

Juan Mata, midfield, Spain

Zakaria Labyad, midfield, Morocco

Takashi Usami, midfield, Japan

Jerry Bengtson, forward, Honduras

Jordi Alba, defender, Spain

 

Advancing Nations:

Morocco and Spain

Do I even need to talk about Spain? Is there any tournament they can’t win? I know this isn’t their senior national team, but when you look at their roster it is still full of many young stars. They are still going to play the same aggressive, pass-heavey style as the seniors do, and it will foil many opponents. A gold medal would put the “double” icing on the cake as it already was spread on after their Euro Cup win over Italy. Morocco has been on the cusp of some remarkable results over the past year. They had the lead against Gabon in the African Under-23 championship, but lost it late in the match. Also, they almost upset Mexico and France at the Toulon Tournament in late May. The Olympics will be where Morocco gets over the hump. Japan will be a threat to Morocco, but I don’t think Honduras will stand a chance.

 

Medal Finish:

Gold: Brazil

Silver: Spain

Bronze: Great Britain

Brazil and Spain will play an epic match for the gold medal, and I believe it will end in penalty kicks with Brazil coming out on top. This will be Brazil’s first Olympic gold, while Spain will fail to win a tournament in what feels like forever.

The only reason I have Great Britain winning bronze, against Uruguay, is because they will have the home-field advantage. Nothing against Great Britain, but I just really like the Uruguay team with Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Advertisements

One thought on “2012 London Olympics: Men’s Football Preview

  1. Most people would agree with you that Spain and Brazil will be in the final but the Olympics are a strange tournament. For some it is their World Cup and for others it’s a chance to prove themselves to hopefully make their squads next big tournament. There is a unique combination of youth and experience and a few more notable players in this particular tournament than the Olympics have had in the past since the games tend to take a back seat to the World Cup and Euro. That being said, Brazil has much more to prove here at the Olympics that Spain does as Brazil is especially loaded with talent and really want to make a statement as they prepare to host the 2014 World Cup. Great Britain is the other team with high expectations, as they always seem to have, and even though they played well at Euro this summer anything but a finals appearance is going to feel like a failure. The teams that Spain and Brazil have brought with them to the Olympics feel like teams that could hold their own regardless of the age rule, which has got to be terrifying to the rest of the world. It’s hard to not pick Brazil with all their talent to win it all but if I’ve learned anything in the past few years it’s to never pick against the Spaniards. But don’t be surprised if a team like Mexico or New Zealand manages to steal the show because what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s