Rio 2016 Football Tournament – Group D 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 D of the Men’s.
Algeria are the final African team to appear in the men’s tournament, alongside South Africa and Nigeria. The north African side are led by Pierre-André Schürmann, who has been coaching the side since 2014. The squad draws a lot of players from USM Alger, the current Algerian league champions, who are represented by six players in the squad across the field. The squad will hope to get a result against Portugal or Argentina in order to get out of a pretty difficult group.
Argentina are another South American giant entering the football competition, and despite most of their strongest players being used in the Copa America 50, they still boast a huge amount of talent across the pitch. The forward two of São Paulo’s Calleri and Atlético Madrid’s Ángel Correa could be deadly in front of goal. Manager Julio Olarticoechea has used one of his over-age slots to bring in highly talented Gerónimo Rulli, who currently plays for Real Sociedad. Argentina are likely to go far in this tournament and a clash with Brazil in the late stages would be a mouth-watering set-up.
Honduras’ team is lead by Jorge Luis Pinto, who joined in 2014 following a three-year spell at Costa Rica. Honduras have a squad nearly all of which have come from their domestic league, aside from Tenerife forward Anthony Lozano and Real Monarchs midfielder Elder Torres. Honduras are most likely going to be seen as an easy three points for the rest of the group, and are likely to come last as the other teams focus on the tighter games after brushing them aside.
Portugal have a number of familiar faces, with Tiago Ilori from Liverpool and captain Bruno Fernandes from Udinese. The majority of the squad is made up of Porto and Sporting players, and managed by Rui Jorge, who has been U21 manager for six years. Jorge was present last summer at the U21 Euros where his side lost in the final to Sweden, so the 43-year-old will be hoping to reach similar heights at this tournament.