Tokyo Olympics 2021 Football: 10 players to watch at the men's tournament


The men’s football tournament at the Tokyo Olympic Games gets underway on Thursday morning.

A total of 16 nations will compete for Olympic gold over the coming weeks – and they line up in the following groups:

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

Each squad for the competition is required to be composed of players under 23 years of age (must have been born on or after January 1, 1997), with three permitted exceptions for overage players.

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Which players, though, should you keep an eye on for as you watch all the action unfold. Here, via, are 10 that you should definitely watch out for.

Read More: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Football: Latest News, Fixtures, Teams, Groups, Results And More



Pedri – Spain

Just over two weeks removed from playing every minute of his country’s Euro 2020 campaign, the 18-year-old midfielder is back in tournament action at the Olympic Games. Part of a fantastic Spanish squad, the presence of the Barcelona man is a major factor in La Furia Roja being the current pre-tournament favourites.

Thiago Almada – Argentina

Currently representing Velez Sarsfield in his homeland, the 20-year-old Argentinian is widely tipped to make a move to one of Europe’s top leagues in the near future. Comfortable on the wing or as a number 10, Almada is very much in the shop window at this summer’s tournament. Fans can look forward to seeing plenty of tricks on display from him during the competition.


Chris Wood – New Zealand

The first of the overage representatives in this countdown, 29-year-old Wood has been called up by his native New Zealand. Wood’s participation at the Games does mean that he will miss the start of Burnley’s Premier League season, but given the relatively kind group that the Kiwis have landed in, it’s easy to see why the man himself was keen to make the trip to Japan.

Reinier – Brazil

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder, currently on loan to Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid, is one of several young stars who have been tipped to shine for Brazil at the Games. Reiner joins a line-up laden with talent, including Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli and Leverkusen’s Paulinho.


Bryan Gil – Spain

Rumoured to shortly be Premier League-bound with Tottenham, the 20-year-old Spanish winger already has a big reputation. Dubbed the ‘Little Cruyff’ due to his similarities with a certain Dutch legend, Gil has some serious skills and will likely leave plenty of defenders trailing in his wake during the competition.

Ramadan Sobhi – Egypt

The former Stoke forward qualifies as an underage player for Egypt by a matter of weeks. His time in the Potteries is not fondly remembered – and nor is his subsequent switch to Huddersfield. However, since returning to the Egyptian Premier League with Pyramids FC, Sobhi has found some form. Already without the services of Mo Salah, Egypt will be hopeful that the 24-year-old can continue his resurgence.


Andre-Pierre Gignac – France

Since departing Marseille for Mexican outfit Tigres in 2015, Gignac has certainly found his shooting boots. Notching 128 goals in 222 games, the 35-year-old’s scoring ratio sees him brought into the French squad as an overage player for the Games. He has the recent pedigree to fire his country into contention at the tournament.

Takefusa Kubo – Japan

Contracted to Real Madrid since 2019, Takefusa Kubo has gained plenty of first-team experience in La Liga thanks to a host of loan spells at the likes of Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe. The 20-year-old has an opportunity to remind his parent club of his ability if he can produce some standout performances for the host nation.


Dani Alves – Brazil

At its core, the Olympic football tournament is based around up-and-coming players. That description, though, doesn’t apply to many less than 38-year-old Dani Alves. The former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain right-back currently turns out for Sao Paulo – and will take the captain’s armband for his country at the Games.


Amad Diallo – Ivory Coast

Hopes are high that the Manchester United youngster, who cost the Old Trafford club an initial €25m in October, could develop into a star of the future. With only three appearances to his name for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, the Olympic Games will provide United fans with an opportunity to get a further glimpse of their new prospect. The 19-year-old could light up the tournament with his exceptional talent.

The tournament promises to be yet another exciting chapter in a brilliant summer of international football.

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