We review the men's and women's teams aiming high for glory at the Olympic event.
Before the grand opening, 16 men's and 12 women's teams began their journey to try to reach the final and thus win the long-awaited gold medal. Photos: IG-cbf_futebol, IG-swewnt
LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González
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Leer en español: ¿Cuáles son las selecciones de fútbol favoritas para ganar la medalla de oro en Tokio?
There was no better way to start the Tokyo Olympics than with one of the most important disciplines of all: soccer. And it is that from a couple of days before the grand opening, 16 men's and 12 women's teams began their journey to try to reach the final and thus win the long-awaited gold medal, a recognition that in fact, very few countries have the possibility of having on your record.
The history of men's soccerat the Olympic Games originated in the 1908 edition when the United Kingdom beat Denmark to win the first gold in the Olympic event. Since then, the tournament has undergone certain modifications that go from the number of participants to the formation of the teams, the latter with the rule of having under-23 players plus three majors (from 1992 to the present). For its part, in the female category, there are no rules regarding age, only the fact that since its first edition in 1996 the selections have increased from 8 to 12.
For Tokyo 2020 emotions will remain at a very high level, as expected in the other disciplines. It should be recalled that during Rio 2016, Brazil won the gold medal after beating Germany on penalties, while Nigeria snatched the possibility of Honduras to hang the bronze. Regarding the female, Germany did achieve gold after defeating Sweden, while Canada completed the podium by prevailing over Brazil. As a curious fact, the Teutonic women's team will not be able to defend their gold in Tokyo as they cannot qualify in the previous tournament.
Latin power vs European powers
The Olympic medal table in men's soccer has a great variety of winners, where Hungary and the United Kingdom stand out with three gold medals, while Argentina and Uruguay face Latin America with two. However, it is worth mentioning that African nations such as Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ghana (all absent in Tokyo) always add a special touch to the tournament. For this edition in the Japanese capital, there are five selections that are emerging as the most favorite.
In 2012 they managed to hang a medal for the first time and that was gold. Surprisingly for many, that Mexico of Gio Dos Santos, Héctor Herrera, Raúl Jiménez, among others, defeated the always favorite Brazil in the final. For Tokyo, El Tri will be led by "Memo" Ochoa and Diego Lainez to try to repeat the feat and thus give new joy to the country.
To their credit, they have one gold (in Barcelona 1992) and two silver (Antwerp 1920 and Sidney 2000), so this new generation will do everything possible to add another medal to their history. In addition, this team is probably the one with the best squad compared to others, as figures from Real Madrid and Barcelona stand out, as well as other clubs in the Spanish first division. There is a lot of expectation around this group led by Luis de la Fuente.
In every soccer tournament, the Germans will always be a rival to beat. It was in Montreal in 1976 when Democratic Germany won the only men's gold so far, being very little to do it again in Rio 2016. With almost no names of weight, the idea of the European team is to give prominence to the under-21 generation that won the Eurocup of the category in 2017 and 2021. The youth will show their face.
After two bronze and three silver medals, the Canarinha was finally able to get the long-awaited gold in the last edition. Soccer is in their DNA and for Tokyo, they promise to repeat the first place on the podium and thus become the third Latin country to match this feat. For this, they will have the youth of boys like Antony dos Santos and Matheus Cunha, as well as the veteran of Richarlison and the great Dani Alves.
The hegemony of the north seeks to spread
In Tokyo, we will be experiencing the seventh edition of women's soccer, which will have a new champion since Germany failed to qualify. It is worth mentioning that the United States is the absolute owner of this tournament with four gold medals, so it will be the rival to beat without a doubt. Will there be an unprecedented champion or will American hegemony remain?
The Canadians are the soccer team that best represents the country, and an example of this is seen in their performances in the World Cups as well as the bronze medals won in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. It is worth noting that these achievements were achieved after beating France and Brazil, respectively, so we will have to watch out for their performance in Tokyo.
They are one of the most talented European teams and this is indicated by their performances. A world runner-up, a European Championship title, and a silver medal in Rio 2016 is the letter of introduction of a Sweden that will be the favorite of the old continent to win gold in soccer. Among its stars stands out the figure of Kosovare Asllani, forward of the women's Real Madrid.
If there is a country that knows how to represent women's soccer in Latin America, it is Brazil. Although they do not yet have a gold medal, this team is always a favorite wherever they go and their performance at the Olympic Games proves it. There are already three fourth places and two silver medals, so the bet of the Swedish coach Pia Sundhage and the captain Marta is to win or win this year.
Surprisingly, the Americans were left off the podium in 2016 after being present in the finals from 1996 to 2012, where they collected four gold and one silver medal. Strategist Vlatko Andonovski will enlist the talents of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and other promising youngsters to try and maintain his hegemony at the Olympics. Will they get it?