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Olympic Soccer 2021: Updated Group Stage Schedule, Odds and Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 26, 2021

United States' Carli Lloyd (10) battles for the ball with New Zealand's Abby Erceg (8) at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Martin Mejia/Associated Press

The United States women's soccer team does not sit on top of its Olympics group through two matches, but it is still the favorite to capture the gold medal.

Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Co. have one more group-stage contest left against Australia before embarking on what they hope is a three-game run through the knockout phase.

Over on the men's side, 15 of the 16 nations in the competition are still alive to advance to the knockout round.

Brazil is favored to capture the gold medal in men's soccer, but there are plenty of worthy challengers.

                      

Upcoming Olympic Soccer Schedule

Tuesday, July 27 (Women's Soccer)

New Zealand vs. Sweden (4 a.m. ET)

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United States vs. Australia (4 a.m. ET, USA Network)

Chile vs. Japan (7 a.m. ET, NBC Universo)

Canada vs. Great Britain (7 a.m. ET)

Netherlands vs. China (7:30 a.m. ET)

Brazil vs. Zambia (7:30 a.m. ET, Telemundo)

             

Wednesday, July 28 (Men's Soccer) 

Saudi Arabia vs. Brazil (4 a.m. ET, NBC Universo)

Germany vs. Ivory Coast (4 a.m. ET, NBCSN) 

Romania vs. New Zealand (4:30 a.m. ET) 

South Korea vs. Honduras (4:30 a.m. ET, Telemundo)

Spain vs. Argentina (7 a.m. ET, NBC Universo)

Australia vs. Egypt (7 a.m. ET)

South Africa vs. Mexico (7:30 a.m. ET, Telemundo)

Japan vs. France (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) 

All games can be live-streamed on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports app.

             

Predictions

USWNT Works Way into Gold-Medal Game

The USWNT is +100 (bet $100 to win $100) to win the women's soccer draw for a reason.

Vlatko Andonovski's side boasts the deepest roster and appears to be back on track after the 3-0 loss to Sweden in its opening game.

The USWNT routed New Zealand 6-1 to gain some confidence heading into the group-stage finale versus Australia.

If the Americans take care of Australia, they will likely finish second in the group and set up a clash with either the Netherlands or Brazil.

The Netherlands and Brazil are two of the best teams in the tournament, but the USWNT is No. 1 in the FIFA Women's Ranking for a reason.

The Americans boast a plethora of knockout-stage experience throughout their roster, and as we saw Saturday, they can find an extra gear.

If the USWNT cruises through its match with Australia, the odds of it winning the gold medal should decrease a bit regardless of whom its quarterfinal foe is.

If you add in the motivation that the USWNT is looking to reclaim gold after a stunning quarterfinal loss in 2016, you have a dangerous team rounding into form that can cash in on its favorite status over at DraftKings Sportsbook.

                   

Brazil Takes Men's Gold Medal

Brazil is in good shape to defend its gold medal in the men's tournament.

The Selecao won their opening group match over Germany and drew with the Ivory Coast on Sunday to compile four points heading into Matchday 3's contest with Saudi Arabia.

The performance in the 0-0 draw with Ivory Coast may raise some eyebrows, but the African nation has quality throughout its squad and should test Germany in its final group-stage contest.

The biggest takeaway from that match was Brazil's clean sheet. That came after the concession of two goals to Germany on Thursday. If Brazil blanks Saudi Arabia while putting up multiple goals, it will reinforce its favorite status going into the knockout round.

Brazil's roster is the exception to the trend of countries not having their best under-23 talent with them in Japan. Richarlison, Antony and Matheus Cunha were released by their respective clubs for the tournament, and Dani Alves is along for the ride as one of the three overage players.

Mexico is the only other team with a comparable roster in terms of star power because Diego Lainez was allowed to play in the competition by Real Betis. But even with Lainez in the fold, Mexico's attack does not compare to Brazil's trio of stars with high-level European club experience.

If Brazil's defense continues to play well and its attack puts up multiple goals, like it did against Germany, it is hard to see anyone touching the Selecao in the knockout phase.

                      

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