Football will be among the 42 sports represented as sixteen countries get set to battle it out for the top price. We therefore preview the stars to watch out for in the footballing tournament of the competition;
Neymar is appearing in his second Olympics after helping Brazil to a silver medal at the 2012 Games. He scored three goals at the London Olympics and is hoping for similar production this summer. Brazil’s hopes of winning its first Olympic soccer gold medal on home soil rest squarely on his shoulders as the nation’s most popular and talented player.
The top scorer so far in the Brazilian league is set to shine at the Olympics, and could soon join the Premier league after reports that Manchester city had agreed a fee for the young star. Gabriel is a superb athlete, capable of outpacing most defenders and getting stronger all the time. He is explosive without being stocky, which allows him to glide into space with ease when he stretches his legs. He also has good positional awareness and a knack for drifting into space, which makes him hard for defenders to pick up and is definitely one to watch out for at the tournament.
Earlier in the transfer window, the world was hit with the news that Arsenal had completed the signing of young Japanese player, Takuma Asano. Relatively unknown, there is right now no bigger stage than the Olympics for the world to get a feel of Arsenal’s latest signing. According to a scout report, He is one of the fastest players in Asia, and is maybe quicker than Theo Walcott. But he is not an elite player; he hadn’t played in the Japan youth teams many times until he was called up by the senior team a year ago. So obviously he lacks international experience and experience of playing abroad. Well, we can’t wait to get a firsthand glimpse of him at the tournament.
I definitely wouldn’t be wrong to call Mikel a veteran of the Nigerian team, as he’s been there for quite a long time and Nigerians will be keenly interested to see what he offers at the tournament. He has not had the best of times at club level but you cannot question the man’s commitment to the Nigerian National team. He has quite some responsibility at hands, as he is not just the captain of the Nations football team, he was also chosen as Nigeria’s captain at the Olympics, hopefully, this spurs him to do great things for Nigeria at the tournament.
He was once tipped to be the next big thing to come out of the Arsenal academy but has unfortunately slipped in the last 3-4 years. He went on loan last season at West Brom but couldn’t get playing time as he struggled to be a vital member of the squad. Gnabry is good at using his excellent pace to gain advantage over opponents.He is best with ball in his feet. His smart dribbling skills and direct running add to that account.He holds his own quite well against stronger players, considering his relatively small frame. He is definitely one to watch out for and will do well to put up an impressive performance at the tournament to convince Arsene Wenger he still has a future at the London club.
He has strongly been linked to Manchester United with his father confirming that the English club has already made an enquiry about him, making the footballing world keen on what kind of player he is. According to scout reports, he plays basically on the left side of a 4-2-3-1 the vast majority of the time, right-footed Lozano has all the attributes of a classic inverted winger. Pace and dribbling are his main strengths, with Hirving able to take the ball past any defender in Mexico. Possessing great power in his right foot, he’s often dangerous when shooting after cutting in from the left-hand side. This shooting ability was shown in the 2015 CONCACAF U20 tournament when Lozano was top scorer with 5 goals in 5 games as Mexico lifted the trophy. It will definitely be interesting to watch his abilities first hand and there is no better place than the Olympics to watch him.
The Atletico Madrid youngstar is definitely one to watch out for at the tournament as he has put in quite an impressive shift for Atletico Madrid last season, scoring five goals in 26 appearances, mostly off the bench. Diego Simeone rates him highly and has blocked all attempts for the young star to go on loan to other clubs. Blessed with the low centre of gravity, excellent technique and burst of pace we’ve come to expect from an archetypal diminutive Argentinian forward, Correa is the sort of electrifying talent that strikes fear into opposition defenders. His vision and, importantly, decision-making means he can really punish you once he has found a bit of freedom between the lines.His goals have come in a variety of forms. From emphatic finishes, slaloming solo golazos and delicate precision curlers from outside the box. Expect him to shine at the tournament.