2016 Gold Medal Predictions…
by Luis Eduardo Flores
Every team in the Olympics has already played their first match of the men’s tournament. Honestly; it’s hard to predict the finalist (much less the winners) of this tournament.
On paper, the world powerhouses should be dominating this tournament. Well, they’re not. The past is haunting the Brazilian team; as they produced a goalless draw in their first match. Colombia drew against Sweden and Argentina lost to Portugal; those results tell us the story of three top CONMEBOL teams that are unconvincing contenders.
One shouldn’t be heavy critics of these teams; given that a lot of them are made up of young players. A tournament like this is where these young bucks can craft their skills and begin to establish themselves as the future of the sport.
At this moment, it’s still hard to determine what teams will advance to the next round. There has been only one major win in this tournament; but even then, the credibility is minimal. South Korea unleashed hell on Fiji; nailing eight unanswered goals on the young Bula Boys. If South Korea had scored those eight goals on a team like Argentina, Brazil, or Germany; then yes, South Korea would be on our radar as top contenders for Olympic gold.
History also makes it hard to predict what teams are going to the finals. We know what happened the last time that Brazil hosted a soccer tournament. Once again, the pressure might be too much to handle for the team; especially with the expectations set high for Neymar. Germany has been hyped as the reigning World Cup champions. Yes; the German senior team are the champions; not the youth team. So; the young Germans have to reproduce the success of their older counterparts from 2014 on the same soil. Colombia doesn’t have championship gold to their name, but Colombia has shown us that they are worthy of a championship. They have the talent that can will a championship; there is no doubt about that.
Mexico at the moment is also at a huge disadvantage. Their success from the previous Olympics will not secure them passage into the next rounds. Recent history is not on their side. It is a fact that Mexico (well the senior squad) has a tendency of choking when they reach the 2nd round of a tournament (ex: 2014 World Cup and 2016 Copa America). Regardless of which is in a tournament, the success and failures of the senior squad overshadow the younger teams.
So; it won’t be until the 2nd or 3rd match of each team that we will be able to have a better idea as what teams have a chance at winning Olympic gold.