Spain U23 vs Ivory Coast U23 Preview 31/07/2021

With the group stages complete, we know the eight quarter finalists at the Olympic Games in Japan.

The first fixture to be played on Saturday the 31st of July is between Spain and Ivory Coast at the Miyagi Stadium, Rifu. The Spanish entered the tournament as one of the favourites to reach the final but they will have to overcome African competition for the first time in the competition.

— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) July 28, 2021

The reason why Spain will have to beat an African team for the first time in the tournament is because they were held to a 0-0 draw by Egypt in their opening fixture of Group C. That result placed the Spanish team under pressure going into their second fixture against Australia, who had previously recorded an excellent 2-0 win over Argentina. It was a close game but Spain managed to make the breakthrough with only 9 minutes of the match remaining to seal a 1-0 win.

Into the third and final fixture of the group and Spain came up against Argentina, a team who needed to win to have a good chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. Spain opened the scoring after 66 minutes and despite conceding an equalising goal 3 minutes from time, the draw was enough to see the Spanish win the group.

Spain may not have scored many goals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo but they have been excellent defensively, conceding just a single goal in their 3 group matches.

Ivory Coast were placed in Group D, along with Brazil, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. With two of the world’s greatest football nations in their group, Ivory Coast were given little chance of progressing to the quarter final of the competition.

However, the opening fixture against Saudi Arabia gave them a good opportunity to put 3 points on the board and it was a chance they accepted. With the score 1-1 at half-time, Ivory Coast scored the only goal of the second half to win the match 2-1.

Next, came a tough fixture against the defending Olympic champions, Brazil but Ivory Coast defended superbly to claim a point in a 0-0 draw. They produced a similar performance in the final round of games in the group to take a point against Germany. Again, Ivory Coast failed find the back of the net themselves, relying on an own goal but the 1-1 draw was enough to see them finish second in the group, 1 point clear of third place Germany.

Team news and Spain have plenty of top talent at their disposal. The likes of Pedri, Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Eric García, Marco Asensio, and Pau Torres are all expected to start.

Ivory Coast have plenty of good players themselves, many of which are playing for big clubs in Europe. Eric Bailly, Franck Kessié, Amad Diallo, Christian Kouamé, Wilfried Singo, and Max Gradel could all be named in the starting XI.

PlusBet.net predicts that Spain and Ivory Coast will produce a goalless draw after 90 minutes, with extra-time and/or penalties required to decide the outcome.

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