With the second round of Olympic men’s soccer matches in the books, the picture in each of the four groups is starting to become clearer and it is looking good if you are the hosts. Of all the nations, Japan are the only ones to have registered maximum points and in Takefusa Kubo, they have a star man in form on home soil with two goals from as many games.
Spain, Brazil and Ivory Coast are the most consistent sides behind the Japanese while traditional powers Germany, Argentina and France are waking up after slow starts.
We look at the updated power rankings through two matches.
1. Japan (+4)
Two games, two wins and two goals from Kubo, things could not be going much better for Hajime Moriyasu and his players, and they will fancy their chances against a fragile French side buoyed mainly by the talismanic Andre-Pierre Gignac.
2. Spain (+7)
Questions remain over the freshness of many of Luis de la Fuente’s players, notably the over-worked Pedri, but Mikel Oyarzabal’s late winner will have done them the world of good ahead of a decisive clash with Argentina which could have ramifications on both sides.
3. Brazil (-1)
There was always likely to be a comedown after the opening win over Germany and it came just 13 minutes in against the Ivorians with Douglas Luiz seeing red and undermining Brazil’s chances of maximum points. That is tempered, however, by the fact that eliminated Saudi Arabia are up next.
4. Ivory Coast (-)
Another solid display and while they will feel frustrated that they did not make the most of their one-man advantage over a majority of the clash, they will be relieved that their own red card did not cost them toward the end.
5. Germany (+5)
Foiled in their fightback attempts against Brazil, they survived two Saudi equalizers before hitting the front for good late on and this time they saw out their lead with the Ivorians next up for the Kuntz crew in Rifu.
6. Argentina (+6)
After being stunned by Australia in their opener, the Argentines needed to respond, and they did just that against an unlucky Egypt to set up a decisive meeting with Spain which could have greater ramifications for Fernando Batista’s men.
7. Australia (-4)
Beaten by a late Oyarazbal strike, the Olyroos are still very much in this, and they will fancy their chances against a resolute Egyptian defense that has yet to see their attack hit the back of the net in Japan.
8. Mexico (-7)
Fresh from blowing out France in their opener, El Tri were blitzed early on by the hosts, and it was too late by the time they responded through Roberto Alvarado so South Korea next is a must-win after France came back into play with their win.
9. France (+7)
Les Bleus left it late and dramatic in nature but showed their mettle to beat South Africa and now play for their Tokyo future against hosts Japan in Yokohama with Gignac leading the tournament with four goals so far.
10. South Korea (+3)
After their narrow loss to New Zealand, the Koreans woke up and dished out a beating to Romania with three of four goals coming in the final 30 minutes as Valencia CF’s Lee Kang-in found the back of the net twice.
11. Honduras (-)
Unlucky to lose their opener to an own goal against Romania, the Hondurans hit back and equalized twice against the OlyWhites before finally going in front and staying there late on through Rigoberto Rivas.
12. New Zealand (-6)
Followed up their maiden Olympic victory with a disappointing 3-2 loss to Honduras which saw them throw away two leads and waste Liberato Cacace’s contender for goal of the tournament with his opener.
13. Romania (-6)
Two games, one goal scored for them by Honduras and four goals conceded in a heavy defeat to South Korea means that it hardly bodes well ahead of their decisive clash with New Zealand in Sapporo.
14. South Africa (-)
Desperately unlucky after playing some fantastic soccer and scoring a sensational effort through Teboho Mokoena, the Amaglug-lug might be headed home if they cannot overcome the Mexicans at Sapporo Dome.
15. Egypt (-7)
One goal conceded over two games is pretty good going, but only if can score the goals that win you points to match and the Egyptians have been unable to do so which could cost them a knockout phase berth unless they can rectify that against Australia.
16. Saudi Arabia (-4)
Three goals scored and five conceded has seen the Saudis lose twice and for that, they are the first team to be eliminated from this edition.