Mexico v Japan betting tips: Hosts hope for silver lining
Preview and odds for Friday’s Olympics men’s bronze medal match
The bronze medal match at the men’s Olympics football tournament sees the host nation taking on the London 2012 winners, and we look at some potential Mexico v Japan betting tips.
Japan’s hopes of Olympic gold were dashed in extra time by Spain, while Mexico lost on penalties to Brazil in their semi-final, with Spain battling Brazil for gold on Saturday.
The bronze medal clash takes place in the Saitama Stadium on Friday and kicks off at 12.00pm BST.
Mexico v Japan match odds
London 2012 Olympics winners Mexico saw their excellent run halted, despite defending champions Brazil being made to struggle in their last-four clash.
The Kashima semi-final ended goalless after extra time, with Brazil winning 4-1 on penalties.
Brazil went close to settling the match inside 90 minutes when Richarlison struck the post with a glancing header eight minutes from time.
When it came to the shoot-out, they had their keeper Santos to thank for a fine save to keep out Eduardo Aguirre’s spot-kick, and after Mexico’s Johan Vasquez hit the post, Reiner ensured victory.
Marco Asensio struck an extra-time winner as Spain ended Japan’s hopes of Olympic gold with a 1-0 victory in Saitama.
The game had plenty of half-chances with Takefusa Kubo’s near-post strike parried by Unai Simon the nearest Samurai Blue came to scoring.
Japan were more than a match for Spain until Real Madrid forward Asensio cut inside from the right flank and curled a shot into the far corner, beyond goalkeeper Kosi Tani, with five minutes of the extra period remaining.
Japan are still on the verge of making history. They have only ever claimed one bronze medal in men’s football – in 1968 when the Games were for amateur players and before the 23-and-under rule came into force. Their best finish since that tournament was fourth place at London 2012.
Interestingly, El Tri were on the losing side in the third-place playoff when Japan claimed their only Olympic men’s football medal.
Mexico v Japan head-to-head
The senior sides have met six times, with Mexico winning the last five meetings. Japan’s sole success came in 1996.
They last met in a friendly, played in Austria, last December, with Gerardo Martino’s side winning 2-0.
Four of those six games saw both sides score and four of those games saw three or more goals scored in total.
However, the U23 sides met in the group phase of this tournament on July 25, with Hajime Moriyasu’s Japan winning 2-1.
They went 2-0 up after 11 minutes with a Kubo strike and a penalty from Ritsu Doan. Roberto Alverado netted a consolation with five minutes remaining.
Mexico v Japan team news
Jamie Lozano’s side were unbeaten in all competitions since the 2016 Olympics, winning eight of their previous nine games before losing to Japan in the group phase, and they have no significant injures.
Jorge Sanchez, who was suspended for the semi-final, is available again and will slot in at right-back or left-back.
Mexico are 4/9 to either win or draw the game on the Double Chance market.
Japan, who have conceded just two goals in the tournament, will again rely on veterans Maya Yoshida and Hiroki Sakai to provide stability.
Both are fit for the third-place play-off game and the hosts are boosted by the return of centre-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who returns from suspension. Japan are 18/5 to win to nil.
Mexico v Japan key battles
Fatigue is going to play a part for both sides, although the return of Tomiyasu is a real boost for the host nation.
Whether Japan’s impressive midfield will be blunted by the rigours of so many games in a short space of time remains to be seen. They dominated in their first meeting and have protected their back four superbly over the past few weeks. Their work off the ball, aligned with detailed defensive organisation, has put them on the verge of a medal.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication