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Rio Olympics 2016: 5 major contenders for gold in football

Will Neymar get his second Olympic gold or will the Selecao face another heartbreak?

With the Copa America Centenario 2016 and the UEFA Euro 2016 treating the football fans with sheer magical and competitive football, it is soon going to be time for the biggest sporting event in the world. The Rio Olympics will have the world at its feet when the event starts on 5th August, 2016. But the football fans will start their party on 4th August when the competition in Brazil starts. There are in all 16 teams who will be taking part in Rio, divided into four groups of four teams each. Hosts Brazil automatically qualified for the tournament. They have been joined by 15 other nations. At the Olympic Games, each country participating in the football event sends their 18-man Under-23 squads which can include only three overage players.

With the new season also approaching, the football associations of many countries have booked their star players to play in the Olympics rather than sending them to their respective clubs. We take a look at the major contenders for the gold medal in football at the Games:

#1 Brazil

Neymar will lead Brazil at Rio 2016 after he skipped Copa America in the US

In the absence of its star players in the recently concluded Copa America, Brazil did not fare well and were knocked out in the group stages. But back in their own backyard, Brazil have only lost once when they were thrashed 7-1 in the semifinals by eventual champions Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Selecao have put in a good squad for the Olympics. They have chosen their three overage players wisely by selecting key players in Neymar Jr. and Douglas Costa, both of whom ply their trade in Europe. The third overage player is Palmeiras’ 38-year old goalkeeper, Fernando Prass. 

The likes of Marquinhos, Rafinha, and Felipe Anderson also play for top clubs in Europe. These players are well supported by the players who play in the Brazilian league. The hosts have the edge over all the other nations as they have managed to secure Neymar to play in the Olympics after Brazil officials talked to Barcelona to allow their captain to represent the nation. There is no other team in the competition who has a more talented squad than the hosts have. Therefore, they look like the favorites to win the gold medal for a second consecutive time.

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