Brazil arrive to London searching for their first ever Olympic gold and the general impression is the Seleccao Olympic squad have never been stronger.
African giants Egypt will try to spoil the party for Mano Menezes’ side, but the Pharaohs clearly face a mountain to climb in their first match.
It is really surprising that one of the strongest national football teams in history haven’t got a single Olympic title in their trophy cabinet, but this makes the Seleccao even more determined to make things right in London.
Senior team boss Mano Menezes did his best to properly prepare his Under-23 side for the Olympic tournament, having mostly used players eligible for the Olympic squad in five friendly games in May and June.
With the senior squad mostly consisting of talented youngsters such as Neymar, Oscar, Ganso, Romulo and Lucas Moura, the national team boss could have probably done without the over-age players, but he, nonetheless, opted to take Thiago Silva, Hulk and Marcelo to Great Britain.
As a result, Brazil recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory over the tournament hosts in their final friendly game, so no wonder they are now 2.50 (3/2) favoruites with Betfair to end the long trophy drought.
Even with starting keeper Rafael Cabral rules out through injury, the Seleccao look a good bet at 1.25 (1/4) offered by Ladbrokes.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Neto – Rafael, Thiago Silva, Juan, Marcelo – Romulo, Sandro, Oscar – Hulk, Leandro Damiao, Neymar.
As the senior team continue to struggle to return to old glory days, the Under-23 squad have earned another chance to battle for the Olympic glory.
The Pharaohs were not that impressive in the Olympic qualifiers, having conceded quite a few of unexpected defeats, but they somehow managed to qualify and they now have a chance to prove their worth at the biggest stage.
The team have played a series of friendly games over the last few months, which should keep them in good stead for the start of the tournament finals, and maybe backing Egypt to progress from the group stage at odds of 2.20 (6/5) offered by 888sport would not be such a bad idea.
Egypt legend Handy Ramzy has called Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Aboutrika and Emad Motaeb as his three over-age players, and these seasoned footballers are expected to prove real leaders of this side.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): El Shenawy – Ahmed Fathi, Hegazy, Gaber, Ramadan – Aboutrika, Hassan, Shebab Ahmed – Mohsen, Motaeb, M. Salah.