Japan - Honduras Preview: South Americans hoping to book quarter-final place
The Hondurans blew the group wide open after a shock 1-0 victory over Spain and face a side who have already sealed their place in the last eight of the Olympics
By Tom Bradley
Tokunaga, Hiroki Sakai, Yoshida, Suzuki
Ogihara, Higashi, Yamaguchi
Otsu, Nagai, Kiyotake
Leveron, Velasquez, Lopez, Figueroa
Mejia, Espinoza, Najar
Japan appear likely to name the same side which beat Morocco 1-0 last time out as they look to top their group with a 100 per cent record.
Striker Kensuke Nagai will likely keep his place after his late goal sealed the win for the Blue Samurai on Sunday.
However, following their incredible 1-0 win over tournament favourites Spain, Honduras have proved they will be tough to break down.
Alfredo Mejia could come into the side to add an extra body in coach Luis Suarez’s midfield, as a point will ensure that the South Americans go through.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Japan are one of two teams who have a chance to qualify from their group with a 100% record, with Brazil also currently on six points.
At the last Olympics in Beijing 2008, Japan finished bottom of their group on zero points after losing all three of their games.
Japan have only ever won a bronze medal at the Olympic games back in 1968.
Honduras also finished bottom of their group in Beijing after losing all three of their games.
Jerry Bengtson (pictured right) is the top scorer for Honduras and joint top scorer of the competition so far with three goals along with Senegal’s Moussa Konate.
Honduras have never won a medal at the Olympic games and have only ever competed three times at the games in Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
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Top 3 Predictions
Japan Under 23 2-0 Honduras Under 23
- 24.38 %
Japan Under 23 1-0 Honduras Under 23
- 14.69 %
Japan Under 23 2-1 Honduras Under 23
- 13.44 %
|Olympic Games (OLY)||1 Aug 2012||Japan Under 23 0 - Honduras Under 23 0|
|Japan Under 23|
|10 Aug 2012||South Korea Under 23 2 - Japan Under 23 0||OLY|
|7 Aug 2012||Mexico U-23 3 - Japan Under 23 1||OLY|
|4 Aug 2012||Japan Under 23 3 - Egypt U-23 0||OLY|
|1 Aug 2012||Japan Under 23 0 - Honduras Under 23 0||OLY|
|29 Jul 2012||Japan Under 23 1 - Morocco U-23 0||OLY|
Nagai's 30-yard lob in his last outing showed that he has the necessary composure in pressure situations, and he will hope to find further opportunities to evidence his class.
His strength in the air will make him a threat from set pieces and, after seeing him score in both games so far, Japan will have to watch him closely if they want to keep their unbeaten run going.
Both sides seem evenly matched in terms of style and, with both teams opting for a counterattacking style in their last two games, a draw seems the most likely outcome.