With a place in the men’s final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the line, Japan Under-23s welcome Spain Under-23s. Here’s the football prediction – Japan vs Spain – for this match on Japan’s home territory, Tuesday lunchtime, at Saitama Stadium 2002.
The host nation advanced to the final four after winning a penalty shootout against New Zealand. Meanwhile, Spain advanced with a five-star performance against Ivory Coast at the weekend.
- Right-back for Japan Hiroki Sakai returns from suspension and should take his rightful place in the backline. To the contrary, Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is linked to Tottenham Hotspur, will sit this one out after receiving two bookings.
- With the Bologna man on the bench, Manchester City’s Ko Itakura should partner Yoshida here. He converted one of Japan’s penalties in their shootout win over New Zealand.
- Daichi Hayashi played up top for the quarter-final, but he failed to deliver on the night. This is suggesting that Ayase Ueda will be relied on in the final third this week.
Japan Under-23s possible starting lineup: Tani; Sakai, Itakura, Yoshida, Hatate; Endo, Tanaka; Doan, Kubo, Mitoma; Ueda
- Oscar Mingueza lasted only 11 minutes on Saturday before being quitting the field due to a troubling thigh problem. Jesus Vallejo replaced the versatile Spanish defender on the day. However, Oscar Gil, who will return from suspension, is a more likely replacement than Vallejo.
- Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid has yet to recover from a nasty-looking ankle injury sustained during Spain’s opener against Egypt. This means that Pedri, the tireless teenager, cannot take a break just yet.
- Dani Olmo and Oyarzabal should both keep their spots in the final third after scoring last time out. At the same time, Mir has done enough to displace Marco Asensio for the semi-final.
Spain Under-23s possible starting lineup: Simon; Gil, Garcia, Torres, Cucurella; Zubimendi, Merino, Pedri; Oyarzabal, Mir, Olmo
Football Prediction – Japan vs Spain
- During the Olympic Games, none of South Africa, Mexico, or France were able to compete with Japan’s incredibly talented prospects. Hajime Moriyasu’s men were thus expecting a simple path to the semi-finals against New Zealand.
- However, the Olywhites survived two hours of football without conceding a goal. Though, they themselves also failed to find the back of the net at the correct end of the pitch. The two nations then decided their fates from the spot, with Japan winning the penalty shootout for a final-four place.
- Meanwhile, Spain donned their best shooting boots for their match against Ivory Coast. But Luis de la Fuente’s team was also only minutes away from having their Olympic dreams dashed.
- With the scores level at 1-1, veteran winger Max Gradel appeared to have scored for the African nation. This, during second-half injury time, failed though. Instead, sparkling substitute Rafa Mir took the tie to extra time within seconds of entering the field of play.
Japan has done remarkably well to get this far on home soil. But no goals in 120 minutes against New Zealand may cause Moriyasu some concern ahead of Tuesday’s game.
On the other hand, Spain enters the semi-finals after a grueling two-hour quarter-final match as well.
However, De la Fuente’s team may yet demonstrate their superior quality in all areas of the pitch. And they may thus enjoy a straightforward run to the Gold medal match.