If you thought that following the conclusion of Euro 2020 you’ll have to wait several weeks for the next meaningful football, then you’re very much mistaken.
No, we’re not talking about meaningless friendlies.
We’re talking about the Olympics.
The Tokyo Games are just around the corner and the football tournament looks set to be an exciting one.
The football competition begins on July 22 with 16 nations from around the world competing.
Group A: Japan, South Africa, Mexico, France
Group B: New Zealand, Korea Republic, Honduras, Romania
Group C: Egypt, Spain, Argentina, Australia
Group D: Brazil, Germany, Côte d’Ivoire, Saudi Arabia
Nations have picked a 22-man squad that must be made up of players born on or after January 1, 1997, with the exception of three overage players.
So, which nations are favourite for the gold medal?
Well, we’ve identified four footballing powerhouses and analysed how they may line-up when the tournament kicks off next week.
Let’s take a look:
This squad would have fared fairly well in Euro 2020 let alone the Olympics.
As many as six members from the Euros will represent their country in the Olympics – Pedri, Eric Garcia, Dani Olmo, Unai Simon, Mikel Oyarzabal and Pau Torres.
And they all look set to start in an impressive XI that will surely take some beating.
Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino and the Real Madrid duo of Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio are the three over-age players.
France have a ridiculous number of talented young players right now. However, many of them were picked for the country’s Euro 2020 campaign while the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, Malang Sarr, Amine Gouiri and Maxence Caqueret have been removed from the Olympics by their clubs.
Instead, Florian Thauvin and Andre-Pierre Gignac – who both play for Tigres in Mexico – will look to use their experience to bring home the gold medal.
The Germany squad doesn’t feature too many household names but plenty of talent with Bundesliga experience.
Nadiem Amiri, Maximilian Arnold and Max Kruse are the three overaged players but Hertha Berlin’s Arne Maier is extremely highly rated in his country.
On the back of their Copa America disappointment, can Brazil go one better at the Olympics? We reckon they just might.
Diego Carlos marshalling the defence, Douglas Luiz and Bruno Guimaraes in midfield with a front-three of Richarlison, Antony and Matheus Cunha – not bad! Oh, and there’s Dani Alves.
Quiz: Can you name these England one-cap wonders?