Olympic Soccer 2021: TV Schedule, Live Stream and Men's Semifinal Times

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

Spain's Rafa Mir celebrates scoring his side's 4th goal against Ivory Coast in a men's quarterfinal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Rifu, Japan, Tokyo. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Andre Penner/Associated Press

Three international men's soccer powerhouses and the Summer Olympics host nation are left in the fight for a gold medal. 

Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Spain will take to the pitch on Tuesday morning to decide who will play in the gold-medal match at the Tokyo Games. 

Brazil and Mexico, the last two gold-medal winners, will face off in the first semifinal. Spain and Japan kick off three hours later. 

Spain and Brazil have been viewed as the favorites to win the competition over the last two weeks, but they will face stiff challenges to set up a championship match against each other. 

Mexico is coming off a six-goal outburst versus South Korea, and it has the best attack the Brazilians have faced in Japan.

Japan is carrying the pride of the nation on its shoulders and will have plenty of motivation to deny Spain of its place in the gold-medal match.


Men's Soccer Semifinal Schedule

Tuesday, August 3

Brazil vs. Mexico (4 a.m. ET, NBCSN)

Japan vs. Spain (7 a.m. ET, NBCSN)



Brazil vs. Mexico 

Brazil's gold-medal defense has gone well so far. 

The Selecao turned in a strong defensive performance against Egypt to earn a 1-0 quarterfinal victory and a spot in the semifinals. 

Brazil's attack received most of the group-stage headlines because of the star power it possesses in the form of Richarlison and Matheus Cunha.

Brazil's defense, led by Dani Alves, has two clean sheets and limited Egypt to two shots on goal on Saturday. 

The South American side should face much more pressure from Mexico given the talent El Tri boasts in the final third. 

Henry Martin, who plays for Club America in Liga MX, bagged a brace on Saturday to move his tournament total up to three goals. Richarlison is the Golden Boot leader with five tallies. 

Martin, Uriel Antuna and Diego Lainez are among the dangerous attackers the Brazilians have to contain in order to move on. 

Most of Mexico's players may be playing with some extra motivation since a strong performance in Japan could bolster their stock on the transfer market. 

Mexico's biggest concern on Tuesday will be its defense. Its only clean sheet came against South Africa, who lost all three games in Group A. 

El Tri conceded three times in the group stage and on three occasions against South Korea. Two of the group-stage concessions came on penalties. 

If the Mexican defense is not careful, it could end up conceding another spot-kick to the dynamic players Brazil has in the final third. 

Regardless of which side wins, Tuesday's first semifinal should be an entertaining back-and-forth affair with a handful of goals. 


Japan vs. Spain

The second semifinal could produce the opposite style of soccer than Tuesday's opener. 

Spain typically uses a more pragmatic approach to the game, and it may be more inclined to play it safe after allowing a pair of goals to Ivory Coast. 

Spain let up goals in the 10th minute and in second-half stoppage time. It rallied back for a 93rd-minute equalizer to force extra time, but it can't afford a late concession again. 

Japan may have to drop back and hit Spain on the counter if the European side dictates the possession battle through Pedri. 

Spain has a handful of promising attackers who could be on the end of Pedri's passes, including Dani Olmo and Rafa Mir, who bagged a hat-trick on Saturday.

Mir scored the late equalizer in regular time against Ivory Coast and then scored on two more occasions in extra time. 

Japan's top player is Takefusa Kubo, who has experience against some of the Spanish defenders from his time in La Liga. 

Kubo has three goals in the tournament, and a moment of brilliance in transition, or on a set play, could be the difference-making play for the home side. 

Spain should come out on top, but if it can't put away the game before the final 15-20 minutes, Japan may be able to force extra time and penalties to spring the upset.