March Madness seems to get better every year, and the 2022 version has not disappointed. Some favorites have dominated, while others have been dumped out much sooner than expected. Every tournament needs a Cinderella, and Saint Peter’s is one of the most heartwarming underdogs in recent memory. This tournament has shown that anything can happen, and US bettors have had a great time trying to predict these games and sometimes making great profits.
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Two of the tournament favorites Brazil and Spain, will face each other for Olympic 2021 gold, with Brazil looking to make it two gold medals in a row. In comparison, Japan will take on Mexico for the bronze medal, with both sides marginally losing in the semi-finals.
Spain ended Japan’s winning streak in the semi-finals of the Tokyo games, winning 1-0 in extra time, crushing Japan’s chances of a gold medal on home turf. Japan defended for their lives, with Spain dominating the game from start to finish. With just five minutes from penalties, Real Madrid star Marco Asensio netted a spectacular effort that saw Spain book themselves a place in the final gold medal.
Current champions Brazil beat Mexico 4-1 on penalties in a close-fought contest, taking them on course to win a successive gold medal in Men’s soccer. With Brazil getting revenge on the 2012 London Olympic final where Mexico won 2-1. Brazil had the advantage as they scored their first two penalties through Dani Alves and Gabriel Martinelli, whereas Mexico missed both of theirs. With the score being taken to 3-1, Brazil’s Reinier coolly slotted penalty clinched the win.
Bronze Medal Match
Mexico vs. Japan
Friday, August 6, 7:00 am ET
Mexico was going into the tournament looking to reclaim the gold medal won in London 2012, getting off to the perfect start with a 4-1 win over France. A clinical second half saw all of the game’s five goals. Then came a 2-1 loss to Japan, but they finished the group in style with a 3-0 win over South Africa, seeing them progress in second place in the group.
The quarter-finals saw Mexico matching group B winners South Korea, which would see one of the tournament’s most thrilling games. A nine-goal thriller where Mexico was victorious in a 6-3 win. This made Mexico look like one of the tournament’s most threatening teams with the number of goals they scored so far in the tournament. With Brazil being the only team to stop them from scoring in the semi-finals, they narrowly lost on penalties after a 0-0 game. Mexico will be looking to get revenge on Japan for the bronze medal after their loss in the group stages.
Japan will be looking to create history by winning its first medal in this event since its rebrand in 1992, making it an under-23 competition.
The home nation was the only team to win all three of their group games, kicking off with a 1-0 victory over South Africa, with Real Madrid star Takefusa Kubo netting the game’s only goal. Kubo and teammate Ritsu Doan both scored in the second fixture in the first eleven minutes, cruising to a 2-1 win over Mexico. While this secured them through to the quarter-finals, they did not slow down with a 4-0 battering against France, with Kubo netting again.
The quarter-finals saw Japan face a New Zealand side progressing through the group stage in second place with one win, one draw, and one loss. The game stayed goalless for 120 minutes of play, meaning it was to be decided by a penalty shootout. With New Zealand’s penalty being saved by Kosei Tani and another blasting his penalty over the bar, it was an advantage for Japan. And captain Maya Yoshida stepped it to make it four from four as the hosts secured their first semi-final since the London 2012 games. However, they went on to lose to Spain, but a bronze medal is still in touching distance for Japan.
In the Japan vs. Mexico game, both teams go into this game in good form, winning the majority of their games, narrowly losing out on final spots against Brazil and Spain. And with Mexico being the tournament’s top scorers, we think it will be full of goals, with Japan edging it with the extra desire to win on their home turf.
Gold Medal Match
Brazil vs Spain
Saturday, August 7, 7:30 am ET
After winning Olympic gold just five years ago in Rio, Brazil looked to make it back-to-back gold medals in Tokyo. Topping Group D with a 4-2 win over Germany, a 0-0 draw with Ivory Coast, and a 3-1 win over Saudi Arabia put them on course to do this. With star player Richarlison netting five goals across these games.
Soccer legend and captain Dani Alves captained his side through to the quarter-finals, where they would meet surprise package Egypt who beat Argentina in group C to progress. However, Brazil would be too big a hurdle for Egypt, losing 1-0 where Matheus Cunha got the game’s only goal. Progressing to the semi-finals against Mexico, the Brazilians came out on top, meaning they have reached the last three Olympic finals.
Not having won Olympic gold since 1992 in Barcelona, Spain will be looking to recreate this success. Going into the tournament with six of the youngest stars in soccer that featured Spain in reaching the Euro 2021 semi-final, it was clear that Spain would be one of the favorites to win gold. Spain started the tournament slowly and unconvincing with a 0-0 draw vs. Egypt, a 1-0 vs. Australia, and a 1-1 vs. Argentina in the group stages.
This was still enough for them to top the group set up a quarter-final tie against Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast took an early lead when Manchester United’s Eric Bailly scored before Dani Olmo’s effort soon canceled it out. It was goalless in the second half until Max Gradel scored what was almost certain to be the winner in the 91st minute before a defensive disaster saw Rafa Mir clinch a 93rd-minute equalizer taking the game to extra time, where Spain didn’t hold back, making the game 5-2 with Mir completing a hattrick. Taking them to their first semi-finals since Sydney 2000, where they would beat Japan and now are one win from Olympic gold.
Brazil vs. Spain sees the tournament’s two favorites going head-to-head, and it could go either way. Spain probably has the stronger squad with stars Pedri, Dani Olmo, and Marco Asensio leading the line. However, Brazil’s squad isn’t to be underestimated with the tournament’s top scorer Richarlison on fire. Brazil will extend their lead as the team with the most medals in this competition with seven medals, but we think they will only gain silver this time around. With Spain’s depth and quality being too much for Brazil to win a very tight game.
Betting on soccer
These soccer games, as well as the rest of the Olympics, are shaping up to be incredible events. Thanks to the PASPA law being struck down in 2018, select US states have regulated sports betting. Residents of these states can now enjoy the Olympics and the start of the upcoming soccer season even more with safe and legal sports betting. BestAppBet provides you with the best variety of the best legal sportsbooks apps to choose which is best suited to you. If you are unsure of what is legal in your state, visit BestAppBet’s website state pages to see what’s the legal gambling status in your state.
So visit Best App Bet today, sign up and claim free bets to kick off your Olympics and soccer season!
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