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Jul 25, 2021 at 9.30am UK
Brazil U23sBrazil Under-23s
0-0
Ivory Coast U23sIvory Coast Under-23s

Luiz (13')
FT

Ismael (19'), Kouassi (65')
Kouassi (79')

Preview: Brazil Under-23s vs. Ivory Coast Under-23s - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Brazil Under-23s vs. Ivory Coast Under-23s - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Olympic Games Men's Football clash between Brazil Under-23s and Ivory Coast Under-23s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Following opening wins for both nations in midweek, Group D favourites Brazil Under-23s meet Ivory Coast Under-23s in Yokohama on Sunday.

The South American Under-23 champions were emphatic winners over Germany last time out, while the Ivorians put outsiders Saudia Arabia to the sword.


Match preview

Having qualified for seven of the last nine Olympic football competitions - claiming two bronzes, three silvers and finally gold at Rio 2016 - Brazil certainly take their quest for medals seriously, as self-appointed guardians of the beautiful game.

The team they defeated in the final five years ago were once more the opposition for the defending champions' first fixture of this summer's Games, and the Selecao repeated the result - though without recourse to penalties this time - against Germany on Thursday.

Clearly dedicated to his national duty, Everton forward Richarlison headed straight to Japan after taking part in the Copa America final defeat to Argentina earlier this month and his commitment was rewarded with a hat-trick, which was followed by Paulinho's late strike to secure a 4-2 win. Though a Germany side later reduced to ten men eventually bagged two second-half goals, a comeback never looked likely.

Only once since 1976 have a Brazilian squad failed to collect a medal of some sort from a trip to an Olympic Games, so such a win was widely expected back home, but Andre Jardine's team appear to be handling the pressure suitably well.

They are certainly in fine form, as former Sao Paulo manager Jardine has now led Brazil's next generation - aided by some experienced heads - to three successive victories, by an aggregate of 12 goals to four. That threat in the final third will surely leave opponents fearing the iconic Verde-Amarela shirts flooding into their box as the tournament progresses.

Next to face the free-flowing Brazilians, fellow first round winners Ivory Coast will come into Sunday's encounter level on points with their counterparts and within a win of securing a place in the knockout phase.

The 2019 African Under-23 Cup of Nations runners-up - who nonetheless earned a place in these Games despite suffering a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Egypt in the continental tournament - were winners against Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

An own goal from Saudi centre-back Abdulelah Al-Amri, which put Les Elephants in front, was swiftly followed by Al-Hilal winger Salem Al-Dawsari's equaliser to send the sides in level at the break.

It was Milan midfielder Franck Kessie who eventually thumped home a typically powerful strike in the 66th minute to seal maximum points for the Ivorians. His supporting run for Manchester United forward Amad Diallo was rewarded when he received the ball on the edge of the area, made a quick turn and fired between two helpless defenders.

An impressive opening performance in a more dynamic box-to-box role than the deep-lying job he is restricted to with the Rossoneri demonstrated Kessie's undoubted abilities, and his inclusion as one of coach Soualiho Haidara's overage players could make all the difference in helping the West African side get through to the final eight.

In fact, the ex-Atalanta man's fellow Serie A star, full-back Wilfried Singo, has stated the squad are intent on surpassing even their fans' high hopes to portray a positive image of the country worldwide, speaking of their privilege in representing Ivory Coast at these uniquely global Games.

Brazil Under-23s Olympic Games Men's Football form:
  • W

Brazil Under-23s form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Ivory Coast Under-23s Olympic Games Men's Football form:
  • W

Ivory Coast Under-23s form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Though Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes and Marseille new-boy Gerson were both withdrawn from the squad before departure, Brazil have a deep and versatile squad to choose from. However, head coach Andre Jardine is expected to largely keep faith with the XI that started the opening game.

Matheus Cunha had a penalty saved in first half stoppage time against Germany as his side had to settle for a mere three-goal advantage at the break, and he missed other chances too but will probably start once again. In their customary 4-3-3 formation, any two from Paulinho, Antony and ex-Barcelona winger Malcom will join Richarlison in support of the Hertha Berlin frontman.

Having fulfilled a creative midfield role and featured on the right wing at times since his return to the Brazilian top flight, ageless veteran Dani Alves continues at right-back, with fellow senior players Diego Carlos and goalkeeper Santos also lending their experience to the back line.

Ivory Coast, meanwhile, will be forced into at least one change, as Maccabi Netanya forward Aboubacar Doumbia was sent off late in the second-half of their win over Saudi Arabia and will miss out on a place on the bench as he serves a suspension.

The first XI, however, should remain intact, with Manchester United teenager Amad Diallo set to keep his spot on the right flank, while Max Gradel targets any space left by the raiding runs of Dani Alves on the opposite side.

Midfield lynchpin Franck Kessie and Diallo's United colleague Eric Bailly add steel and experience to the spine of Soualiho Haidara's young side.

Brazil Under-23s possible starting lineup:
Santos; Alves, Carlos, Nino, Guilherme; Luiz, Guimaraes, Claudinho; Paulinho, Richarlison, Cunha

Ivory Coast Under-23s possible starting lineup:
Tape; Singo, Bailly, Dabila, I. Diallo; A. Diallo, I. Doumbia, Kessie, Eboue, Gradel; Kouame


We say: Brazil Under-23s 2-1 Ivory Coast Under-23s

Unsurprisingly, given their wealth of attacking talent, Brazil cannot stop scoring at the moment and even a capable Ivory Coast team are unlikely to keep them at bay for a full 90 minutes.

In fact, the Selecao should register at least twice, as their well-stocked bench is capable of adding fresh impetus should any of the front three start flagging or lose form - a place in the quarter-finals is almost assured.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool64201541114
2Manchester CityMan City64111211113
3Chelsea64111221013
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd6411135813
5Everton6411127513
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton540174312
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham6321138511
8Aston Villa631297210
9Brentford62318539
10Arsenal6303510-59
11Tottenham HotspurSpurs630349-59
12Watford621379-27
13Leicester CityLeicester6213710-37
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves620435-26
15Crystal Palace512258-35
16Southampton604247-34
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle6033714-73
18Leeds UnitedLeeds6033614-83
19Burnley6024511-62
20Norwich CityNorwich6006216-140
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