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Olympic Preview: Group B, Day 2








Sunday 10 August 2008 (all times Beijing)
17:00 Nigeria - Japan
19:45 USA - Holland

Nigeria - Japan

The 'Dream Team IV' managed a credible draw with the Dutch in the first game, but the time for goalscoring is upon them as Japan prepare to face Nigeria in Tianjin.

The young Super Eagles saw somewhat less of the ball against the Netherlands but nonetheless held their own, which will boost morale as they head into a match in which they are more heavily favoured.

Japan, meanwhile, fell to a Stuart Holden game against the United States and are now in dire need of all three points.

Coach Yasuharu Sorimachi will be less than pleased with what he saw from his young charges in that match and may yet ring the changes: of particular concern will be how quickly his side seemed to fade and lose concentration in the second period.

Players to watch: Atsuto Uchida enjoyed a fine game at right-back for Japan and will be expected to do so again, but as the east Asians go for broke it may be up to strikers such as Yohei Toyoda - a sub in the first game - to find their shooting boots. Nigerian hopes rest with the likes of Peter Odemwingie, but Promise Isaac in midfield showed his skills in the first match and merits the captain's armband once more.

United States - The Netherlands

The Dutch didn't quite enjoy the tickertape start they expected as they were held by the Nigerians, and now the group leaders of the USA stand in their way.

It won't be the easiest of encounters for a side who will miss out on midfielder Evander Sno, suspended after a red card, and veteran forward Roy Makaay, who is injured. Erik Pieters, though, could make a comeback.

More important than personnel changes may be spirit, which the Dutch could surely use more of. Coach Foppe de Haan's side are under immense pressure now and only by pulling together can they avoid another setback.

Still, the man himself has threatened to start a war of words by declaring the USA and Japan to be inferior to Nigeria and thus more likely to be cannon-fodder for his side.

The Americans, meanwhile, are on cloud nine after securing an opening day win. Boss Piotr Nowak may then be quietly confident of silencing de Haan ahead of this clash.

It's certainly not beyond them: at their last appearance in 2000 the USA remained unbeaten all through the group stage, only falling to Spain at the semi-final hurdle.

If the likes of Stuart Holden can pull off another goal then who knows where they may finish?

Players to watch: Royston Drenthe may once again be the key attacking influence for the Oranje, but immense pressure is now on Ryan Babel, who must lead the line in the absence of Makaay. For the USA, Freddy Adu may be called upon to provide a moment of magic after drifting in and out of the last fixture.






Olympic Preview: Group B, Day 2 Reviewed by admin Ucop on 12:28 AM Rating: 5

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