We enter the final round of matches from the Tokyo 2020 group stages and there’s plenty for football fans to get excited about on Wednesday. Eight games are on the schedule with kick-off times staggered which is perfect for armchair fans planning to follow the play. With this being matchday three, there’s extra tension in the air with some sides battling to keep alive their dreams of progressing to the knockout rounds. There’s plenty to play for across the board, but in this preview, we focus on what promises to be a fascinating 90 minutes when Spain and Argentina face off from noon GMT.
Spain and Argentina have the quality to win this match and go all the way to finish as competition champions. We could even see the gold medal winners come out of this fixture, so eagle-eyed supporters will be on the lookout for the top players and performers that have the skills to make a difference once knockout football takes hold. The rivals were amongst the early favourites with pundits to win a medal but know defeat in this game would put a dent in their chances.
The teams have never met at this level,l so there’s nothing for followers of the stats to go on when making their predictions. Both Spain and Argentina have already played two group games, so there is a strong form to use to our advantage. Read on as the 22bet football writers preview what is expected to be a lively game with both sides believing they are good enough to grab the three points and finish on a high.
Spain in a commanding position
Spain was one of the pre-competition favourites to win the gold medal, which comes with added pressure. The Spanish senior squad failed to live up to expectations at Euro 2020 earlier this summer. There’s a feeling among some followers that a clearout is needed, and the next generation of talent should be rushed through. Like runners up England, who put their faith in youth under the guidance of manager Gareth Southgate, Spain must begin seeking out the next big names.
Players involved in Tokyo 2020 know there’s a real opportunity for them to catch the eye and be in contention for next year’s World Cup in Qatar. If the team are able to go all the way to win the gold medal, they will thrust themselves into contention for a call up next season. There’s still plenty of football to be played between now and the World Cup, even in this tournament, but the incentive is there for the squad, and that could prove to be their driving force as we get into the thick of play.
The Spanish enter this match top of the pool with four points collected from their first six games. They are ahead of Australia in second, with Argentina in third and Egypt stuck at the bottom of the pool. At present, just three points stand between Spain and Egypt, so this group remains competitive. Failure to win this game could see the current leaders drop to third in the pecking order, which would be a late blow.
Argentina suffered an early shock
Argentina were picked by many shrewd punters to win this group and send out a message of intent to the rest of the competition. Things haven’t gone according to plan for them yet, and their future at Tokyo 2020 hangs in the balance. Lose to Spain in midweek, and they would be sent home, where the team will face a backlash for a poor effort. They start matchday three with three points on the board, which is only one fewer than their opponents, who set the pace at present. They opened with a loss but bounced back from that disappointment to collect three points last time and thrust them back into contention.
Their opening game of the group paired them with Australia, and that was a match they were expected to win without too much hassle. The Aussies aren’t known for being world-beaters
at this level but they showed there’s some genuine emerging talent in their pool when Australia cruised to a 2-0 win over Argentina to get off to the perfect start. That wasn’t the only upset we’ve seen at Tokyo 2020, but it was certainly one of the most memorable. It blew the group-wide open at the earliest opportunity.
The beaten side on matchday one got themselves back in contention with a win over Egypt in their second start. That was a game they were expected to win, and the team did so without too much hassle, battling to a 1-0 result to keep their dreams alive. The winning goal that day came from Medina, who found the net early in the second half to give his team the points their dominance deserved. The pressure is now on to do it again.
Spain v Argentina prediction
This promises to be a thrilling game from start to finish, and the fact there’s still all to play for in the group makes it even more enjoyable. If Spain avoids defeat against Argentina, they will progress to the next round as winners of the pool, and it would be nothing short of what they deserve for their efforts. The danger is the players may feel they have already done the hard work and can afford to take their eye off the ball. That would be a mistake against an opponent here to win.
The pressure is on Argentina, and they know they are most probably involved in a shootout with Australia for the second-place finish. The Aussies sign off against bottom of the pool Egypt and most fans who have followed this competition expect them to get the win. That ramps up the pressure in Argentina to get something out of this match. Victory would be an ideal outcome, but if they drew, they’d then have one eye on the other match. This couldn’t get any tenser.
Tokyo 2020 odds
The pre-match betting available at 22bet has Spain priced at 1.92 for the win, with Argentina trading at 4.16 and the draw 3.42.
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