Olympic Soccer 2021: Live-Stream Schedule, Predictions for Men's Medal MatchesAugust 4, 2021
Brazil has taken home a medal in men's soccer in three consecutive Summer Olympics. And that streak is going to be extended again this year in Tokyo.
However, the Brazilians don't want to be heading home with silver. They're looking to win the gold for the second straight Olympics when they take on Spain in the gold-medal match on Saturday. Brazil could be the first country to win the men's soccer gold in two straight Olympics since Argentina won it in both 2004 and 2008.
It's been much longer since Spain has won the men's soccer gold. The last time the Spanish earned the honor was in 1992, when they hosted the Games in Barcelona.
Before Brazil and Spain face off for the gold, Mexico and Japan will be playing in Friday's bronze-medal match. While Mexico last medaled in 2012, when it won the gold, Japan hasn't done so since 1968, when it won the bronze. That's also the only time the Japanese have medaled in men's soccer.
Here's everything you need to know heading into the men's soccer medal matches.
Men's Soccer Schedule
Friday, Aug. 6
Bronze-medal match: Mexico vs. Japan, 7 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Saturday, Aug. 7
Gold-medal match: Brazil vs. Spain, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Matches can be streamed live at NBCOlympics.com
There may not be fans in attendance, but Japan still has the home-field advantage in these Games. And it nearly made it to the gold-medal match. Japan lost to Spain 1-0 in their semifinal match, with the lone goal coming in the 115th minute.
Mexico will need to bounce back from a tough loss, too, if it hopes to win the bronze. It lost to Brazil in penalty kicks (4-1) after the game was scoreless after extra time.
Although Mexico will be the favorite and has had more recent Olympic success, Japan is going to be motivated to be on the medal stand in its home country. Because of that, expect the Japanese players to do whatever it takes to come out of this game on top.
Japan has impressed so far in the Games, having won each of its first four games before its loss to Spain. Its defense has been tremendous, having allowed only two total goals, with goalkeeper Kosei Tani playing well.
Not only that, but Japan has already defeated Mexico, notching a 2-1 win on July 25. So the Japanese know they have what it takes to beat the Mexicans this year.
It should be another close game, but Japan should take control early with a goal that lets it focus on defense and shutting down Mexico the rest of the way. And unlike in 2012, when it ended up in fourth place, Japan will finally get back on the men's soccer podium at the Olympics.
Prediction: Japan wins 1-0
No country has made it to more Olympic men's soccer finals than Brazil, which will be making its third consecutive appearance and its fifth overall. Still, the Brazilians never won gold until they captured it as the hosts of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
This year, Brazil again has the talent to avoid having to settle for its fourth silver. And it could be captain Dani Alves who powers the Brazilians to victory on Saturday.
The 38-year-old has never won Olympic gold. He's won plenty of other titles throughout his illustrious career, but this is an accolade he doesn't have on his resume. But it's clearly one that Alves would like to add.
"Being here, being able to represent my people, at football, is an honor for me," Alves recently said, per Sam Leveridge of Marca.
The gold-medal match should be competitive, and Spain isn't going to go down without a fight. Neither team is going to get shut out, but it's also not going to be a one-sided contest filled with a ton of offense.
Alves' play should lift the Brazilians, who will score a crucial goal in the second half to put away the Spanish and end up atop the podium again.
Prediction: Brazil wins 2-1