Betfred Sport

Surprise package Japan face Egyptian test

The Japanese team is having an Olympic Games to remember in London 2012.

They have progressed through to the quarter-finals of the tournament after winning Group D with some conviction, beating pre-tournament favourites Spain in the process.

Next up for Japan is Egypt, who finished second in Group C behind an emphatic Brazil.

Egypt’s only loss in the tournament so far was to the Brazilian side, but they showed great spirit in their eventual loss, coming back from being 3-0 down within half an hour to finish the match with a much more respectable 3-2 result.

Both sides will be desperate to win this fixture, which takes place on Saturday, August 4 as they know they will avoid playing the likes of probable quarter-final winners Great Britain and Brazil in the next round, and will instead play the winner of the match between Mexico and Senegal.

Japan will head into the game as slight favourites, not just because they have beaten Spain and won their group, but also because they achieved this without conceding a single goal.

Realising a dream

Egypt, though, will go into the match with confidence, knowing that, despite Japan’s resilience at the back, they only managed to score two goals in the group stages, compared to Egypt’s impressive six.

The lack of goals from the Japanese players may partly be due to the absence of arguably their best player, midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who usually provides attackers with a breadth of opportunities to score and also possesses the ability to hit the back of the net himself.

Instead of leading the line for Japan at London 2012, Kagawa opted to concentrate on settling in with his new club, Manchester United, ahead of a tough first season with the Red Devils, as they attempt to steal their crown back from their Manchester counterparts, Manchester City.

Expect to see more of the same from both teams, with Japan organised at the back and looking to grab a goal or two when they venture forward, and Egypt opening the game up, playing the more risky football in search of victory.

Old Trafford, nicknamed the Theatre of Dreams, is where this showdown is set to be staged, and the dreams of either Japan or Egypt will be realised on Saturday as one team will take a step further towards making their country proud and bringing home an Olympic medal.

By Glen Walter - Follow me on Twitter @GlenWalter27

Follow Total Football on Twitter: @TotalFootball12

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