Japan U23 will host South Africa U23 in their opening game at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 men's football tournament on Thursday.
Japan are hosts of the Olympics and their men's team will be looking to kickstart the tournament on a positive note. They played out a 1-1 draw with Spain U23 in their final preparatory fixture last week.
Carlos Soler scored a second-half equalizer after Ritsu Doan had put Japan ahead in the first half.
South Africa's U23 team secured their spot at the Olympics by virtue of their third-place finish in CAF's qualifying tournament two years ago. Amaglug-glug saw off Ghana U23 on penalties to nick the third and final qualification slot.
France U23 and Mexico U23 are the two other countries in Group A and they will all battle it out for the two qualification spots on offer.
Japan U23 vs South Africa U23 Head-to-Head
The two sides met in a friendly in June 2016 when Japan ran riot in a convincing 4-1 victory.
Japan U23 are unbeaten in their last five warm-up fixtures, with four games ending in victories.
South Africa U23 suffered a 3-0 defeat to Egypt U23 in their sole preparatory game for the summer Olympics.
Japan U23 form guide: D-W-W-W-W
South Africa U23 form guide: L
Japan U23 vs South Africa U23 Team News
The home side have named their 22-man squad for the tournament with three over-aged players included. Team captain Maya Yoshida is joined by Hiroki Sakai and Wataru Endo as the over-aged players in the squad.
South Africa U23
Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams is the only over-aged player in South Africa's 22-man Olympic squad.
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Japan U23 vs South Africa U23 Predicted XI
Japan U23 Predicted XI (4-3-3): Keisuke Osako (GK); Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Reo Hatate, Ao Tanaka; Wataru Endo, Takefusa Kubo, Kaoru Mitoma; Ayase Ueda, Daizen Maeda, Daichi Hayashi
South Africa Predicted XI (4-4-2): Ronwen Williams (GK); Tercious Malepe, Katlego Mohamme, Thendo Mukumela, Luke Fleurs; Teboho Mokoena, Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Luther Singh, Lyle Foster; Evidence Makgopa, Fagrie Lakay
Japan U23 vs South Africa U23 Prediction
Japan were one of the busiest sides in preparation for this tournament which showed their seriousness about making an impact. The presence of players playing on the biggest stages is also beneficial.
Home advantage could also count for the hosts and we are predicting a comfortable victory for Japan U23.
Prediction: Japan U23 2-0 South Africa U23
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