16 men’s soccer teams have played their three group stage games in the Tokyo Olympics. Eight remain and will vie for the gold medal. The tournament has featured some of the best young talent around the world.
While the World Cup relies on talented teams with the world’s best, the under-23 format of the Olympics leans on younger sides and the stars of tomorrow. Instead of European countries dominating the later stages, this year’s event includes all six of the continental federations. Asia and Africa have two entrants each.
The round of eight will take place Saturday evening in Japan, which equates to early Saturday morning in the United States.
Here are match previews, odds, knockout bracket and schedule for the four matches, with prices shown for regulation results (90 minutes plus stoppage time). The games will feature extra time and penalty shootouts if regulation ends in a draw. If you bet on a side in the 3-way odds and the match goes to extra time or PKs, your bet loses.
Spain vs. Ivory Coast
Two countries who have earned their place among international stalwarts face off in the first quarterfinal match. Both teams won once and drew twice in the group stage. However, Spain won Group C and Ivory Coast finished second in Group D behind Brazil.
Spain, the men’s soccer gold medal favorites, tallied two goals in group play, one each against Australia and Argentina. Goaltender Unai Simon kept two clean sheets and allowed only a late goal to the Argentines. Ivory Coast benefited from two own goals, with Franck Kessie’s winner against Saudi Arabia the only one scored on the roster. They did hold the group winner to a scoreless draw before advancing with a 1-1 tie with Germany.
The two teams meet for the first time in major competition and have not played since a 2006 friendly. Could a new golden generation be in the wings for La Roja or will Ivory Coast take a step to becoming the third African nation to win gold?
Japan vs. New Zealand
The host nation is the only one to win all three group stage games in topping Group A. New Zealand was the only team in Group B to get points off South Korea, finishing second despite losing to Honduras.
Japan’s +6 goal differential is second among advancing teams, capping group play with a 4-0 thrashing of France. Takefusa Kubo tallied in all three games to lead the offense, while the defense earned a clean sheet against the French and South Africans. New Zealand also had two shutouts, against South Korea and Romania. Chris Wood has two of the team’s three goals.
Japan has three wins in four matches against the Kiwis, including the lone competitive win coming back in 2003 during the Confederations Cup. Could New Zealand pull a major upset and flip the tournament?
Over 2.5 Total Goals
Under 2.5 Total Goals
Brazil vs. Egypt
The defending gold medalists went unbeaten in Group D with two wins to top the group. Egypt advanced out of Group C with a 1-1-1 record, advancing on the strength of a 2-0 win over Australia in the finale Wednesday.
Richarlison has the tournament’s goal lead with five in three games, including a hat trick against Germany. The team has seven goals overall and allowed three. Egypt claimed two clean sheets and finished with a +1 goal differential. While this is an under-23 event, the national team would have clearly benefited from including star striker Mohamed Salah, who was blocked from the event to participate in Liverpool’s preseason schedule.
Brazil have won all six previous meetings against Egypt, including the lone competitive win in the 2009 Confederations Cup. Can they make it seven and move towards matching Yugoslavia’s record of medalling in four consecutive Olympic Games?
South Korea vs. Mexico
South Korea won Group B, despite their loss to New Zealand. Their wins against Romania and Honduras put them atop the table. Mexico finished second to hosts Japan in Group A and probably drew the best matchup for the quarterfinals.
Korea’s 10 goals in group play were the most in the round. Kang In-Lee and Hwang Ui-Jo each tallied three. Mexico finished second overall in offense with eight goals, led by Alexis Vega’s two. However, they will be without Carlos Rodriguez, who was sent off against South Africa.
Mexico has won eight of the thirteen overall meetings, including the 2-1 win in the 2018 World Cup. Both teams medaled in the London Games, with Mexico taking gold. Which one will clinch a second medal round appearance in the last three Olympics?
Men's Soccer Quarterfinal Odds
Olympic Men’s Soccer Knockout Bracket Schedule
- Spain vs. Ivory Coast (Miyagi) — 4:00a ET
- Japan vs. New Zealand (Kashima) — 5:00a ET
- Brazil vs. Egypt (Saitama) — 6:00a ET
- South Korea vs. Mexico (Yokohama) — 7:00a ET
- South Korea/Mexico vs. Brazil/Egypt (Kashima) — 4:00a ET
- Japan/New Zealand vs. Spain/Ivory Coast (Yokohama) — 7:00a ET
- Bronze medal match (Kashima) — 7:00a ET
- Gold medal match (Tokyo) — 7:30a ET
Games are broadcast on the NBC family of networks and NBCOlympics.com.