The 2020 Tokyo Olympics hosts, Japan, will face off against Mexico on Saturday, July 25, in the second round of play in Group A. Mexico and Japan last met in the semi-finals of the 2012 Olympics when Mexico won 3-1, while Japan won their first meeting 2-0 at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.
Japan vs Mexico
When: Saturday, July 25 – 20:00 JST
Where: Saitama Stadium in Saitama, Japan
Weather: Cloudy, 27°C
Japan and Mexico meet in the second round of the Olympics football tournament. In Round 1, both teams secured a win – Japan beat South Africa 1-0, while Mexico demolished France 4-1.
The 2020 Olympics are taking place in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, one of which is Saitama. This makes Japan the host of the tournament, but that won’t matter much in this game – Saitama authorities have decided not to let any fans in for this match due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Is the absence of home supporters going to hurt Japan? According to oddsmakers, it’s likely. The odds have moved against Japan over a recent couple of hours, making Mexico new favorites. Still, the fact is that Japan’s Olympics squad looks really tough, as evident from the fact that they grabbed themselves a win in the first game of the tournament.
No Fans, No Problems for Japan
The first game Japan played at the 2020 Olympics saw them win against South Africa 1-0, in front of almost 50,000 empty seats of Tokyo Stadium. Even though there weren’t any fans to cheer them up, Japan players didn’t seem to need the crowd’s support at all.
They were the ones to dominate the game from the very start, keeping the opposition far away from their goal. The Samurai Blue did really well in the centre of the pitch, preventing the South Africans from creating too many goal opportunities.
In fact, South Africa had only one shot on goal for the duration of the match. In comparison, Japan had six shots on target, one of which went in. The man who scored the game’s only goal was Takefusa Kubo, one of Japan’s most exciting prospects.
The attacking midfielder is only 20 and is currently contracted to Real Madrid, who clinched his signature in 2019. Since arriving in Spain, he’s spent three seasons on loans at Mallorca, Villarreal, and Getafe.
In addition to Kubo, Japan have a few other rising stars, especially in the midfield. Ao Tanaka is one of those, a 22-year-old holding midfielder who’s recently signed for Dusseldorf in the 2. Bundesliga.
When it comes to more experienced players in Japan’s squad, most of the veterans are playing at the back. Some of those include Japan’s skipper Maya Yoshida (32 years), Wataru Endo (28), and Hiroki Sakai (31).
Surging Mexico Looking for Another Win
Japan is a team that plays level-headed football, focused on winning midfield battles. Mexico? They’re just the opposite. As they showed last round, Mexico are all about attacking. Against France, their coach Lozano went with a 4-3-3 formation, with some really pacey players all around the pitch.
Interestingly, Mexico failed to create a single shot on target in the first half, scoring all four goals in the final 45 minutes. The goal-scorers were Sebastian Cordova, Uriel Antuna, Eduardo Aguirre, and Alexis Vega. All of those are 20-something players currently playing in the Mexican Liga MX.
Their forwards were in the spotlight against France, but Mexico’s strongest weapon might be their defence. After all, their most experienced player is their captain Guillermo Ochoa, who’s been nothing short of brilliant since coming back to Mexico from Europe two years ago to play for Club America.
Japan vs Mexico Betting Picks
Mexico pulled off a huge upset against France, but the element of surprise is now gone. Japan players know what to expect from El Tri, so we can expect the tournament hosts to take a very cautious approach. As a result, we shouldn’t see too many goal attempts from either side.
Prediction: Under 2.50 Goals – 1.86 Sportmarket
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