Japan and Brazil have been heavily backed to progress to the final of the men's Olympic football tournament when the semi-finals take place on Tuesday in London [Wednesday morning Australian time].
Brazil, who are aiming for their first gold medal in men's football at the Olympics despite having won a record five World Cups, are overwhelming favourites both to win their semi-final clash against South Korea and to finally crack it for gold in the Under-23 tournament.
The South American giants, who picked up the silver medal at both the 1984 and 1988 Olympics as well as bronze in 1996 and 2008, are $1.44 favourites at Luxbet to end their Olympic hoodoo this time around by claiming gold, with Japan and Mexico equal second favourites at $6.50 and South Korea the rank outsiders at $10.
South Korea, who broke the hearts of the home nation by eliminating Great Britain on penalties in the quarter-finals, have been all but written off against Brazil in their semi-final clash.
But the other semi-final is tipped to be an epic, with Japan narrow $2.60 favourites at Luxbet against Mexico at $2.65, with the draw at $3.05.
|Brazil to lead at half- and full-time v South Korea at $2.15 at Luxbet
||Japan and Mexico to finish a draw in normal time at $3.05 at Luxbet|
But Luxbet's Andy Scott told Goal.com that punters were expecting Japan to go through to Saturday's gold medal game at Wembley.
"There has been heavy backing for both Japan and Brazil, with Brazil in particular backed to go through comfortably against the Koreans," he said.
Brazil have won all four matches so far but did receive a fright in their quarter-final clash against Honduras, which they won 3-2, while South Korea only qualified second in their group with just one win and two draws before drawing with Great Britain in the quarter-final at the end of extra-time and then going on to win in the penalty shootout.
But with that gruelling match likely to have taken plenty out of the Asian side, Brazil look a great bet at $2.15 at Luxbet to lead at both half-time and full-time, while a 3-0 win for Brazil looks good value at $9.25 considering they did score three goals in their quarter-final win over Honduras and are unlikely to be troubled as much defensively by South Korea.
Mexico needed extra-time to beat Senegal in their quarter-final, while Japan cruised home 3-0 against Egypt, so there is no doubt Japan will head into the other semi-final as the slightly fresher side.
But with these two sides evenly matched, the draw at 90 minutes does look the best value option at $3.05.