Japan U23 vs Spain U23 Preview 03/08/2021
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The second of the men’s Olympic Games football semi-finals will be contested on Tuesday the 3rd of August at the Saitama Stadium 2002.
This game involves the host nation, Japan, and one of the pre-tournament favourites, Spain.
The home fans will be hoping their team can bring them some joy by reaching the final while Spain will be aiming to make up for a disappointing European Championship by bringing home the gold medal.
Japan come into the match having been taken all the way by New Zealand in the quarter final. Neither team could make the breakthrough inside 90 minutes and the game went into extra time.
The same pattern followed into the additional 30 minutes and the match was decided via a penalty shootout. Japan kept their composure to convert all 4 of their penalties whereas New Zealand missed two of their kicks, to send the host nation through.
Including the penalties victory over New Zealand, Japan have won all 4 of their matches at this Olympic Games tournament. They started with a narrow 1-0 win over South Africa before scoring two early goals in a 2-1 win over Mexico.
The Japanese produced a tremendous performance to defeat France 4-0 in their final group game and were the only team to win their group with maximum points.
Japan have been difficult to breakdown throughout the competition and they have kept a clean sheet in 3 of their 4 matches.
Spain reached this stage of the Olympic Games thanks to a 5-2 win over Ivory Coast in the quarter final. However, it was not as easy as the final score suggests and having fallen 2-1 down thanks to a goal in the 91st minute, Spain scored the equaliser 3 minutes later to take the game into extra-time.
The Spanish came on strong in the second half and having taken the lead from the penalty spot 8 minutes into extra-time, they added two additional goals near the end of the 30 minutes.
Spain were extremely close to being eliminated from the competition but that result means they remain undefeated at these Olympic Games.
However, they have recorded only one victory inside 90 minutes having been held to two draws in the group stage, 0-0 by Egypt and 1-1 by Argentina.
Trends show Spain have seen under 2.5 goals in 3 of their 4 matches at this Olympic Games.
Team news and Japan could make a couple of changes to freshen things up for this game. Ayase Ueda and Yuta Nakayama could both come into the starting XI having featured off the bench in the quarter-final.
Spain may also be forced into a couple of changes as their quarterfinal also went into extra time. Rafa Mir, who came on and scored a hattrick will be hoping he has done enough to feature from the start, while Jesus Vallejo will probably start in defence and Bryan Gil could come into the team in a wide midfield position.
Given the facts, PlusBet.net predicts that Japan will record a narrow 1-0 win over Spain this week.