On at 19:23 CEST
The Spanish team embarks on its path to Olympic gold. The opening ceremony of the Games will take place this Friday in Tokyo, but the ball will roll earlier on the soccer fields. And Spain will be one of the first protagonists. After not passing the group stage in London 2012 and absent in Rio 2016, the ‘Red’ begins this Thursday, in Sapporo, a demanding journey of ‘revenge’ in which they want to meet expectations, demonstrate on the pitch that the ‘favorite’ label that has been placed on him since he announced his call is not in vain and relive the dream of Barcelona ’92. Egypt (9.15am, Sapporo Dome) will be the first stone on the path of Luis de la Fuente’s men, who will also have to beat Australia and Argentina if they want to qualify for the playoffs.
The first matches of this type of competition are always momentous. Not only for starting the tournament in question with good feelings, but also for not dragging urgencies from the beginning. Although the unpredictability of football is surely one of its main attractions, Spain cannot ignore that it has the best squad of medal contenders. The incombustible and insatiable Pedri, the best young player and member of the ideal eleven of the Eurocup, Eric Garcia, Unai Simón, Pau Torres, Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal lead a group that is completed by contrasting footballers such as Puado, Ceballos, Merino or Asensio, all of them consolidated in teams of the highest Spanish and continental level. With all due respect to the rest of the combined participants, everything that is not that the National Team is one of the two contenders in the grand final on August 7 will be a surprise. Egypt, reigning champions of the U23 African Cup of Nations, whose top three teams qualify for the Olympics, he will not be able to count on his great star, Mohamed Salah. Liverpool have refused to ‘give in’ to a very important footballer from their squad and Shawky Gharib’s team will not have a big name – the best known is Ramadan Sobhi – but it will have a group of physical, tough and competitive players.
A very tough few weeks
Jesús Vallejo, one of the pillars of Spain, wanted to stay, in the press conference prior to the debut in the Games, with the positive part of all the mobility restrictions that athletes have in Tokyo 2020. He assured that this has “made them stronger & rdquor; for having known each other more and that these days they will “remember them for a lifetime & rdquor ;. “I guess that’s the way it is for all athletes. We are looking forward to training or a group dynamic to get us out of the routine. It gets tough at times because we like to go out a bit, but the team has endured it very well and this has made us stronger & rdquor ;, he declared.
Argentina does not want to fail
Spain will play again on July 25 against Australia also in Sapporo (12:30 pm) and will close the group on July 28 against Argentina in Saitama (1:00 pm). The ‘olyroos’ and the ‘albiceleste’ will obviously play their match on the first day (12.30 pm) this Thursday, the first with Daniel Arzani as the main asset and the South Americans, favorites to go to the next round together with Spain, with more notable footballers such as Ledesma, Nehuén Pérez or Ezequiel Barco.Possible eleven
Egypt: The Shenawy; El Eraki, Hegazy, Ramadan, Fouad; Tawfik, Hamdy, Maher; Sobhi, Mohsen and Mansi.
Spain: Unai Simon; Mingueza, Vallejo, Pau Torres, Cucurella; Merino, Zubimendi, Pedri; Asensio, Puado and Olmo.
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (Jordan).
Sapporo Dome / 9.15am (Spanish time)