After claiming opening wins midweek, Brazil and Ivory coast seek consolidation as they dig it Sunday in Yokohama.
Group D favourites Brazil Under-23s may do well to avoid underating the young Ivorians.
The South American Under-23 champions were emphatic winners over Germany last time out, while the Ivorians put outsiders Saudia Arabia to the sword.
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.
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. This tie promises to be full of fireworks.
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