Olympic Soccer 2021: Updated Schedule, Odds for Men, Women's Semifinals

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 1, 2021

United States' Megan Rapinoe scores the winning goal against Netherlands in a penalty shootout during a women's quarterfinal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

The soccer semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics are filled with the sport's top teams on the men's and women's sides.

Brazil, Mexico and Spain headline the the final four in the men's tournament, which also includes host nation Japan. The United States, Canada, Australia and Sweden make up a powerhouse quartet set to duel in the women's semifinals.

The Selecao are looking to defend their gold medal from the 2016 Summer Olympics, but a return to the championship game will be tough with Mexico playing so well.

With reigning women's champion Germany not entered in the competition, there will be no repeat gold winner in that bracket. The USWNT won four of the first five Olympic tournaments, and it appears to be in good shape to challenge for a fifth gold in Tokyo.


Olympic Soccer Semifinal Schedule

Monday, August 2 (Women's Soccer)

United States -140 (bet $140 to win $100) vs. Canada +450 (bet $100 to win $450) (4 a.m. ET, USA)

Australia +425 vs. Sweden -155 (7 a.m. ET, USA)

The Americans and Canadians are meeting at the semifinal stage for the second time in the past three Olympics. In 2012, the USWNT won a thrilling game after extra time through Alex Morgan's 123rd-minute game-winning goal.

The USWNT came into the Tokyo Games looking to perform much better than it did five years ago, when it was eliminated at the quarterfinal stage by Sweden.

Vlatko Andonovski's side had to fight over 120 minutes and penalties to get over that hurdle in this tournament. Alyssa Naeher made three penalty saves against the Netherlands, two of which came in a shootout, to send the Americans into the final four.

The USWNT defense still needs to play better to contain Christine Sinclair and the Canada attack, but the good news is it has plenty of experience defending against the all-time international scoring leader. 

The semifinal matchup with Canada is the best-case scenario for the USWNT because of how often they have faced the Canadians and their knowledge of each player's tendencies.

A victory Monday morning would likely hand the USWNT another rematch with Sweden. The European side eliminated the U.S. from the Rio Olympics and defeated it in the group-stage opener. Sweden has been the most consistent team over four games in Tokyo winning each of its three group games and defeating Japan 3-1 in the quarterfinal round.

Sweden conceded multiple goals once in the competition, and that was to Australia, its semifinal foe, in the second round of group-stage play.

Even though Sam Kerr produced a pair of goals for the Matildas in that contest, they let in four tallies and Sweden won that matchup. If Sweden does a better job of containing Kerr this time around, it should cash in on its favorite status in the matchup.

Although Canada and Australia have two prolific scorers on their rosters in Sinclair and Kerr, respectively, the USWNT and Sweden are the more complete squads.

If the U.S. continues to get better over 90 minutes and Sweden keeps up its high level of play, the two should meet up in the gold-medal game.


Tuesday, August 3 (Men's Soccer)

Brazil +110 vs. Mexico +240 (4 a.m. ET, NBCSN)

Japan +260 vs. Spain +110 (7 a.m. ET, NBCSN)

Spain and Brazil entered the men's tournament as the two favorites to capture gold, and they are both one win away from contesting the title match.

Brazil topped a difficult group that also featured Germany and Ivory Coast, and it broke through a tough Egypt defense to earn a 1-0 quarterfinal victory. Spain was forced to grind out each of its four victories, and it had to rescue a result in the quarterfinals to force extra time against Ivory Coast. After equalizing in the 93rd minute, Spain put three strikes past the African side in extra time to progress.

Spain faces a tough matchup against Japan, but it may not be as difficult as it would have been with a full crowd inside the stadium. With no fans, there is less of a home-field advantage for the host nation.

The La Liga-based Spain defenders should be aware of the attacking tendencies of Takefusa Kubo, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Getafe from Real Madrid. Kubo also spent time on loan at Mallorca and Villarreal over the past two seasons, so there should be an extensive knowledge of his skill set among the Spanish staff.

Kubo is one of five players left in the competition with three or more goals. And three of those players will go head-to-head in the Brazil-Mexico semifinal. Richarlison has five tallies for Brazil. Henry Martin and Sebastian Cordova used braces against South Korea to move two goals back of the Golden Boot leader.

Mexico's attack will enter Tuesday's match with plenty of confidence after putting six goals past South Korea. Germany was the only team to put multiple goals past the Brazil defense, and that was in the group-stage opener.

If Brazil's defense remains compact, it should find quell the threat of Martin, Cordova and others.

Mexico's defense let up five goals over four games and is coming off a three-goal concession to South Korea. If El Tri hasn't work on some defensive fixes, it will likely fall at the semifinal stage to Brazil.


If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.