Rio 2016 Football Tournament – Group C Preview
The Men’s Football at the Olympics is a 16 team competition with four groups, never establishing itself as a headline event, the competition differs from the World Cup and the continental competitions by limiting each nation to only three ‘over-aged players’ who are over the age of 23. This has meant that mainstream media in certain areas view it as a glorified youth competition, but with the Olympic venue being Rio, a city steeped in footballing culture, the tournament may have a greater impetus than usual. RealSport will be previewing both the men’s and women’s events in the coming days, we begin with Group C of the Men’s.
Fiji’s squad is almost exclusively drawn from their own domestic league with only one player, forward Roy Krishna, playing outside of Fiji, plying his trade in New Zealand with A League team Wellington Phoenix. Fiji’s squad are managed by the national team manager Frank Farina, who has been working with the national side since January 2015. Two players were axed from the squad due to disciplinary reasons, replaced by 21-year-old Joseph Turagabeci. It is hard to see anything more for Fiji in this tournament than experience and being the whipping boys of a group with far more talented squads than their own.
Germany’s squad oozes with talent, some of which could have very easily been key parts of the Euro 2016 team. The team is lead by Horst Hrubesch, who has managed the youth team for sixteen years and has seen the likes of Ozil, Muller and Hummels come through the youth set up. The squad itself has a number of recognisable names that are being labelled the next big thing, including Niklas Süle and Julian Brandt. The Bender brothers take up two of the over age spots and talented Serge Gnabry will also make the squad, the only player appearing from outside of Germany. The Germans will most likely top this group and have a real chance of going far. But their young defence may let them down in the late stages of the tournament.
Mexico have named a squad with plenty of experience on the international stage. Some readers may remember the FM wonderkid Erick Torres who has seven goals in nine appearances for Mexico and currently plays for Houston Dynamo. Jorge Torres Nilo joins up with the squad as an over-age player after winning the Liga MX. Mexico will probably fancy their chances to get out the group stage, only fearing Germany as stronger opposition. Manager Raúl Gutiérrez, who has been the designated Mexico Olympic manager since 2014, will be looking forward to showing the amount of preparation the central America nation has put in.
South Korea have brought a number of talents to the Olympics, including Son from Spurs, Suk Hyun-Jun from Porto and Ryu Seung-Woo from Bayer Leverkusen. Manager Shin Tae-Yong has been around the South Korea set-up from 2014 and is currently the assistant manager to the first team. South Korea have brought some talented players to the tournament, and the match between them and Mexico will be a tightly contested affair.
2. South Korea