Mexico U23 and France U23 will trade tackles at Tokyo Stadium on matchday one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic men’s tournament.
France secured qualification for the tournament by making it to the semifinals of the 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championship (which serves as a qualifier for the Olympics).
Mexico U23 won the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, defeating Honduras 2-1 in the final after extra time.
They picked up a 3-2 victory over Australia U23 in their final preparatory friendly last month. Eduardo Avirre scored a 77th-minute winner for the North Americans.
South Africa U23 and hosts Japan are the two other teams that make up Group A.
Mexico U23 vs France U23 Head-to-Head
The two sides met in this competition on two previous occasions. France achieved a 4-1 victory in a Group A clash in the 1968 edition. The Europeans recorded another 4-1 victory in Group B eight years
France are making a return to the tournament for the first time since 1996. Mexico will be hoping to build on from their group stage exit in Rio five years ago.
Mexico U23 form guide: W-D-W-W-W
France U23 form guide: N/A
Mexico U23 vs France U23 Team News
Jose Juan Macias withdrew from the initial squad due to injury and was replaced by Adrian Mora. Luis Romo, Henry Martin and Guillermo Ochoa are the three over-age players in the squad.
Real Betis midfielder Diego Lainez is the only member of the 22-man squad playing his trade outside Mexico’s Liga MX.
Injury: Jose Juan Macias
Coach Sylvain Ripoli has made several changes to his squad after clubs refused to release some players from his initial list. The final squad has Florian Thauvin, Andre Pierre-Gignac and Teji Savanier as the three over-age players.
However, Rennes defender Jeremy Gelin is injured and unlikely to make an appearance in the tournament opener.
Injury: Jeremy Gelin
Mexico U23 vs France U23 Predicted XI
Mexico U23 Predicted XI (4-3-3): Guillermo Ochoa (GK); Jorge Sanchez, Cesar Montes, Alberto Angulo, Johan Vadquez; Luis Romo, Carlos Rodriguez, Sebastian Cordova; Ricardo Angulo, Henry Martin, Alexis Vega
France Predicted XI (4-3-3): Paul Bernardoni (GK); Pierre Kalulu, Melvin Bard, Clement Michelin, Timothee Pembele; Lucas Tousart, Enzo Le Fee, Teji Savanier; Andre Pierre-Gignac, Nathan Mbuku, Isaac Lihadji
Mexico U23 vs France U23 Prediction
France surprisingly do not have much pedigree at this stage. The failure to release most of the original squad means that Ripoli’s squad is significantly weaker than would have been the case.
Mexico have a bit more pedigree at this stage and have an added advantage of more team chemistry, with most of the squad having played together.
Both sides have enough quality to nick this one but we are predicting a share of the spoils with goals at both ends.
Prediction: Mexico U23 1-1 France U23