- Japan plays Spain in the second of two semifinal matches at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, August 3rd at 7:00 am ET
- Japan saw out New Zealand in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks while Spain slid by the Ivory Coast in a wildly entertaining 5-2 match that went 120 minutes
- Get the odds, our analysis and betting prediction below
Four teams remain in the men’s soccer competition at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo: Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Spain. The latter two teams play their semifinal a little bit later on Tuesday morning to see who will get to grace the final at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.
Both of these teams will be on an even playing field in terms of fitness after both playing in quarterfinals that were forced to go into 30 minutes of extra time. Japan fought hard against New Zealand, but ultimately could not score the much needed goal, despite 21 shots on target. Nonetheless, the host country prevailed, sneaking by on penalties by a score of 4-2.
Japan vs Spain Odds
|Japan vs Spain||JAP +0.5 (-160) | SPA -0.5 (-105)||JAP +255 | SPA +115 | DRAW +230||Ov 2.5 (+110) | Un 2.5 (-135)|
Odds as of Aug 1 at DraftKings
Meanwhile, Spain somehow had an even crazier and more bewildering quarterfinal against the Ivory Coast. In the 91st minute of regular time, it looked as though Max Gradel has snatched the game for the African side. However, Rafa Mir of Spain had other plans. Mir managed to tie the game in the 93rd minute, forcing the 30 minute extra time period.
The 24 year-old Wolverhampton forward bagged two more goals for Spain and was helped out by teammate Mikel Oyarzabal to put together a 5-2 win. Spain absolutely dominated the end of the match, proving as a testament to their fitness levels and depth. Scoring goals and opening up a game is not Spain’s strength so it is interesting to see them put this element of their game on display.
Spain Looking to Replicate 1992 Gold Medal
For Luis de la Fuente, manager of the Spanish U23 side, he will surely be trying to take his country to a gold medal. Spain is known for their national team success, and it all starts at this level, with the youth talent. Their last medal was a gold one at the 1992 Olympics in their home country, taking place in Barcelona.
Their 1992 side featured the likes of Kiko, Luis Enrique and even Pep Guardiola. They managed to win gold at the Camp Nou in front of 95,000 spectators. Now, they face the challenge of beating the host country on their home turf in Saitama. However, one thing that is similar is the depth of young, Spanish talent with the likes of Pedri, Pau Torres, Dani Olmo and Marco Asensio.
Spain ended a 21-year wait to reach the men's #Olympics football semi-finals as substitute Rafa Mir scored a hat-trick to secure a 5-2 victory over Ivory Coast in extra time.
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) July 31, 2021
Additionally, this Spain team has thrived on the ball at this tournament, suffocating teams with their levels of possession. It will be interesting to see their strategy against Japan, who are a similarly conservative side, but do not necessarily need control of the ball to find the back of the net. Again, Spain are very technical and I fully expect them to try and wear Japan down, because honestly, their depth favors them the later this game goes without a goal.
Japan look to Remain Perfect Through Five Games
One of the most significant storylines in this competition, is that Japan are still yet to be beaten. Hajime Moriyasu’s side has been calm and composed through the first four matches, and never once looked like were going to crack under pressure. Japan gets the luxury of welcoming Hiroki Sakai back into the team after suspension. Sakai will be crucial to Japan’s success as he will most likely be sitting across from Spanish forward Dani Olmo.
Japan vs Spain Olympic Statistics
|1.75||Goals per game||1.75|
|0.25||Goals conceded per game||0.75|
|13.75||Average shots per game||16|
Nonetheless, while Japan get one player back, they are also seeing Takehiro Tomiyasu out due to the same reason. Tomiyasu has been a crucial member of the Japan defense next to Maya Yoshida, and will surely be missed.
Takefusa Kubo vs New Zealand (Olympics):
120 minutes played
31/40 accurate passes
3 key passes
7.5 match rating (@FotMob)
— 🇺🇸🇧🇬. (@TechnicalTake26) July 31, 2021
One of Japan’s strengths at this competition has been their defense. In fact, they have never actually been behind in a match through four games. Seeing how they react if Spain do manage an early goal and try to slow things down will be imperative to how this game plays out.
Japan vs Spain Best Bet
Overall, I think the best bet for this match is the Spain moneyline at +115. This bet has great value as a favorite, and ultimately it comes down to the long list of talent Spain have in their starting eleven. Japan have been remarkable this summer, but it is hard to see them beat such a calculated and strong side in Spain.
Pick: Spain moneyline (+115)