Japan will hope to maintain their 100 percent record at the Olympics men's soccer tournament when they host New Zealand in a quarter-final clash on Saturday. The Samurai Blue have done enough to back their quest to secure a medal, finishing atop Group A without putting a foot wrong.
They began the campaign with a 1-0 win over Sotub Africa before beating Mexico and France 2-1 and 4-0 respectively. Japan's final group game was nothing short of impressive with goals from Takefusa Kubo, Hiroki Sakai, Koji Miyoshi and Daizen Maeda guiding them to an emphatic win over one of the tournament's favorites. With the results, the hosts of the 2020 Olympic Games bettered their finish at London 2012 where they crashed out in the group stages.
For New Zealand, the upcoming test will be daunting considering how they had hard they had to fight for a place in the knockout round. Danny Hay's men progressed out of Group B on the basis of having a better goal difference at the expense of Romania with whom they shared the same points.
They bagan their campaign at Tokyo 2020 with a 1-0 win over South Korea before falling to a 3-2 defeat against Honduras. Their final group game against Romania ultimately decided who will progress to the next round with both sides failing to score.
With this year's appearance at the Olympic men's soccer tournament being New Zealand's third appearance at in its history, they will be poised to make a difference and get close to winning a medal. In the two previous appearances in 2008 and 2012, they were eliminated at the group stages, making Tokyo 2020 their best ever performance on this stage.
Japan have no pressing injury concerns ahead of the encounter and should expect their men to deliver another resounding performance. On the contrary, New Zealand's have an injury concern at the back after Winston Reid was forced off in the early minutes of the meeting with Honduras. The former West Ham defender missed the final group game against Romania this week and could possibly sit out the upcoming clash with Japan.
Predicted starting XI
Japan: Tani; Sakai, Nakayama, Yoshida, Tomiyasu; Endo, Tanaka; Hatate, Kubo, Doan; Ueda
New Zealand: Woud; Cacace, Stensness, Pijnaker, Ingham; Just, Lewis, Bell, Champness; McCowatt, Wood.
Japan U23 vs New Zealand U23 Broadcast Information
Stadium: Kashima Soccer Stadium (Kashima)
Canada: Amazon Prime Canada, cbcsports.ca, CBC Sports App
France: Free, Eurosport Player France, Eurosport 2 France
Germany: Eurosport Player
India: Sony LIV, JioTV
Netherlands: Eurosport Player Netherlands
New Zealand: Sky Sport 4 NZ, SKY Go NZ
Portugal: Eurosport Player Portugal
Spain: Eurosport Player Spain
Turkey: Eurosport Player Turkey
United Kingdom: EuroSport Player UK, discovery+
United States: NBCOlympics.com, USA Network, NBC Sports App