Men’s soccer at 2021 Olympics kicks off Thursday, a day before the Opening Ceremony in Toyko.
At the Olympics, men’s soccer has a unique set of rules. Teams have to mostly use players 23 years old or younger, with three over-age exemptions allowed to be on the roster. That means we have very little data on anyone since these players and teams have never really played together.
The Olympics are also not a major competition for most nations, so they often don’t send their best players and clubs are not forced to release players to the national teams.
Still, many of the familiar nations will be atop the odds board — Spain, Brazil, France, Argentina and Germany are the favorites — with all at +650 or better.
Olympic Men’s Soccer Schedule
All times ET.
|Egypt vs. Spain||3:30 a.m.||Olympic Channel|
|Mexico vs. France||4 a.m.||USA|
|New Zealand vs. South Korea||4:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Ivory Coast vs. Saudi Arabia||4:30 a.m.||Olympic Channel|
|Argentina vs. Australia||6:30 a.m.||Olympic Channel|
|Honduras vs. Romania||7 a.m.||Olympic Channel|
|Japan vs. South Africa||7 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Brazil vs. Germany||7:30 a.m.||USA|
|Egypt vs. Argentina||3:30 a.m.||Telemundo|
|France vs. South Africa||4 a.m.||N/A|
|New Zealand vs. Honduras||4 a.m.||Universo|
|Brazil vs. Ivory Coast||4:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Australia vs. Spain||6:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Romania vs. South Korea||7 a.m.||N/A|
|Japan vs. Mexico||7 a.m.||NBCSN (at 8:30)|
|Saudi Arabia vs. Germany||7:30 a.m.||N/A|
Wednesday, July 28
|Match||Time (ET)||TV channels|
|Saudi Arabia vs. Brazil||4 a.m.||Universo|
|Germany vs. Ivory Coast||4 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Romania vs. New Zealand||4:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
|South Korea vs. Honduras||4:30 a.m.||Telemundo|
|Spain vs. Argentina||7 a.m.||Universo|
|Australia vs. Egypt||7 a.m.||N/A|
|France vs. Japan||7:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
|South Africa vs. Mexico||7:30 a.m.||Telemundo|
Olympic Men’s Soccer Group Standings
The group setup for men’s Olympic soccer is pretty straightforward (unlike the women’s side or European Championship). It features four groups of four, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the quarterfinals.
The betting market thinks this group is pretty up for grabs, with France the slight favorite at -110, followed by Japan at 2-1 and Mexico at 4-1 odds.
This is by far the weakest group of the four. South Korea is the only team under 66-1 to win the tournament. The Koreans are an even-money favorite to win the group, with the other three teams listed between 2-1 and 6-1 odds.
Spain is a heavy favorite in this group at -162, and the favorite to win the tournament. Argentina has a shot at +225, with Egypt at 9-1.
Is this the closest thing to a “Group of Death” in the men’s Olympic soccer tournament? Brazil and Germany are two of the tournament’s favorites, with the Ivory Coast is a popular dark horse.
Olympic Men’s Soccer Bracket
All times ET.
Quarterfinals: Saturday, July 31
Game 1: Group C winner vs. Group D runner up — 4 a.m.
Game 2: Group A winner vs. Group B runner up — 5 a.m.
Game 3: Group D winner vs. Group C runner up — 6 a.m.
Game 4: Group B winner vs. Group A runner up — 7 a.m.
Semifinals: Tuesday, Aug. 3
Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner — 4 a.m.
Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner — 7 a.m.
Bronze medal match — 7 a.m.
Gold medal match — 7:30 a.m.
Olympic Men’s Soccer Odds
The usual favorites are at the top of the board at DraftKings.
The Olympics are designed to not overshadow the World Cup, so they feature just 16 teams instead of the 32-team expanded field we see every four years in the World Cup.
The rosters are also limited to mostly players under 23 years old, with each team getting three overage exemptions. Domestic clubs are also not required to release players to their national teams for the Olympics, so you won’t see most of the big names in this tournament (even though all major European clubs are in their offseasons right now).
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