A number of young players stepped up for their respective sides at the quadrennial event.
After 15 days of tightly-packed schedule, Tokyo Olympics has found the champion in the men’s football category. Brazil, defending the gold that they won in their own backyard in 2016, beat Spain 2-1 in the finals. In a tournament that saw major contenders go out of the group stages, Brazil’s run to the finale was commendable.
Elsewhere, Mexico’s dominating bronze-winning campaign, as well as journeys like that of Egypt and Japan saw the rise of young players who took the opportunity and used it to the fullest.
Here is Khel Now’s Team of the Tournament from the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Goalkeeper – Mohamed El-Shenawy (Egypt)
As one of Egypt’s over-age inclusions at the Tokyo Olympics, Mohamed El-Shenawy stood solid under the bar. The Egyptian’s resilience was one of the most important reasons behind their quarter-final run, and the Al Ahly custodian was at the heart of it all.
In four matches that Egypt played, El-Shenawy conceded just two goals and kept clean sheets against Spain and Australia. He averaged 3.5 saves per game with 88% efficiency. It was his heroic performance against Australia that made him stand out among the rest of the shot-stoppers.
Right-back – Dani Alves (Brazil)
Brazilian captain Dani Alves is the most decorated player in the history of football. The 38-year-old was a livewire at the mega event, progressing from the wide side, in addition to being solid at the back.
Alves’ performances against Germany and Egypt stood out because of his runs and deliveries from the flanks. He also assisted Matheus Cunha for Brazil’s first goal in the final against Spain.
Center-back – Pau Torres (Spain)
Pau Torres has had a busy, yet impressive summer so far. On the back of an impressive season at Villarreal, the center-back was a regular in Spain’s Euro 2020 squad. Torres was also a constant for the silver medal-winning Spanish side at the Tokyo Olympics.
As a ball-playing defender, Torres’ stats were fantastic by every means. The 24-year-old completed 102.5 passes per game, with 92% accuracy. Despite not being able to penetrate defenses, Spain’s performance at the back was relatively solid with Torres being the orchestrator alongside Eric Garcia.
Center-back – Maya Yoshida (Japan)
Sampdoria’s Maya Yoshida captained Japan at the Tokyo Olympics, and it’s fair to say he led from the front. The 32-year-old played every single minute in Japan’s semi-final run and operated brilliantly as the left center-back.
Yoshida’s major strengths were his ability to track opposition runs and not allowing strikers to get behind him. Similarly, he acted as a no-nonsense defender, clearing and making last-minute tackles whenever it was required the most.
Left-back – Guilherme Arana (Brazil)
Once a Sevilla and Atalanta player, Guilherme Arana returned to the spotlight with an impressive campaign at the Tokyo Olympics. In Brazil’s gold-winning campaign, Arana complimented Alves well on the opposite. Brazil’s left side seemed equally functional, thanks to the 24-year-old’s appealing performances.
Playing all eight games, Arana was more of a ball winner for Brazil. Winning four duels and 1.4 tackles per game, the Atletico Mineiro left-back had a campaign to look back and appreciate for long.
Defensive midfielder – Akram Tawfik (Egypt)
Al Ahly’s Akram Tawfik played a solid role in Egypt’s midfield at the Tokyo Olympics. Deployed as a defensive midfielder, the 24-year-old delayed opposition attacks and screened the defense well.
The midfielder averaged 4.3 tackles per 90, more than any other player in the tournament. As a crucial part of the Egyptian resistance, Tawfik caught attention with his performance against Argentina at the group stages.
Attacking midfielder – Takefusa Kubo (Japan)
Real Madrid’s Takefusa Kubo has been the talk of the town for a long, and his performance in this tournament hint that he will continue being that for long. Guiding the hosts to the semi-finals, the 20-year-old scored three and assisted two in six starts.
A major takeaway from Kubo’s performance was his ability to destabilize defenses with his movement with the ball. Quick with his direction changes, his ability to cut in and shoot was the one to watch out and savor.
Attacking midfielder – Sebastian Cordova (Mexico)
Mexico’s bronze medal-winning campaign saw them trounce strong opponents in multiple occasions. On the center of it all was Sebastian Cordova, who scored four and assisted three in impressive fashion.
Cordova, operating as an attacking midfielder, found out spaces well and got the most out of it. Scoring one against France and two against South Korea, the 24-year-old stood out as one talent that European teams should closely track.
Left-winger – Alexis Vega (Mexico)
Out of Mexico’s two glimmering attackers at the Tokyo Olympics, Alexis Vega caught attention from the left wing. The 23-year-old CD Guadalajara winger scored three goals and grabbed two assists in the process. The winger stole the spotlight with his guiding performance against France, where he scored one and assisted another.
Also included in Khel Now’s ten stand-out youngsters from this year’s Olympics, Vega’s runs and decision-making were the stand-outs. In addition, his ability to constantly offer offensive activity even without scoring will be the one to watch out for a long time.
Right-winger – Matheus Cunha (Brazil)
Matheus Cunha missed Brazil’s semi-final win against Mexico, yet was equally important in matches either side of the fixture. He scored the winner against Egypt in the quarter-finals as well as the opener in the final.
Coming inside from the right, Cunha acted as both the ball-runner and the receiver on occasions. His ability to constantly find the striker, as well as shoot at times were apparent and the basis for his success.
Striker – Richarlison (Brazil)
Richarlison, coming on the back of a relatively disappointing Copa America campaign, stepped up in Brazil’s glory. As the highest scorer of the tournament with five goals, the striker showed tremendous scoring abilities and ran behind defenses.
Despite ending the tournament with a sour performance against Spain, it was the Everton striker’s performances early on that comfortably took them to the knockouts. , Richarlison also had a memorable start to the tournament with a hattrick against Germany in Brazil’s 4-2 win.