MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 23:12:02| >> :600:141886:141886:
Jul 22, 2021 at 12pm UK at Kashima Soccer Stadium
Honduras U23sHonduras Under-23s
Romania U23sRomania Under-23s

Oliva Casildo (26'), Daniel Alvarez Rodas (48')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Oliva Casildo (45+1' og.)
Alexandru Dobre (44'), Dulca (71'), Sintean Mezin (83')

Preview: Honduras Under-23s vs. Romania Under-23s - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Olympic Games Men's Football clash between Honduras Under-23s and Romania Under-23s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Honduras Under-23s and Romania Under-23s will both play their first match of the Olympic Games Men's Football tournament on Thursday, when they clash in Kashima.

The two nations have been drawn in Group B alongside New Zealand and South Korea and will both be desperate to get off to a winning start to boost their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage.

Match preview

Honduras Under-23s find themselves at this stage having progressed through the CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship in 2020.

They firstly advanced through the group stage in relatively comfortable fashion, thrashing Haiti 3-0 and drawing with Canada and El Salvador to finish at the top of Group B on goal difference.

Miguel Falero's side would then record an impressive 2-1 win over USA Under-23s in the semi-final thanks to goals quickly either side of half time through Juan Obregon and Luis Palma.

While they eventually fell short in the final to Mexico on a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw, the semi-final victory meant Honduras took one of the two Olympic places on offer, seeing them move into this year's tournament somewhat against the odds.

They recently took on Japan Under-23s in a warm-up friendly but fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat, and they will hope to put that behind them and start the group stage in style.

To do that, they will have to get past a Romania Under-23s side who should fancy themselves to qualify out of the group.

The Romanian national team qualified for this year's Olympic Games tournament through their impressive performance in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2019.

They would progress out of the group stage in style, recording a 4-1 win over Croatia Under-21s and a 4-2 win against a heavily-fancied England Under-21s side as well as a goalless draw with France Under-21s to keep the chasing side at bay.

Romania's first-placed finish saw them drawn against Germany in the semi-finals, and they would fall short, suffering an agonising 4-2 defeat as Luca Waldschmidt and Nadiem Amiri each netted a goal after the 90th minute to cruelly snatch the victory before extra time.

Nonetheless, the top-two finish in the group stage saw Romania earn a place in the Olympics Football tournament for their Under-23s side, which is set to look similar to the Under-19 team that impressed on the continental stage two years ago.

Honduras Under-23s form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Romania Under-23s form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W

Team News

Despite being allowed to name three over-aged players, Honduras opted to include just two in their Under-23s squad, calling upon Primeiro de Agosto midfielder Brayan Moya and Olimpia forward Jorge Benuche, who spent last season out on loan in the Portuguese top flight with Boavista.

Benuche should lead the line with the support of attacker Douglas Martinez, who plays his club football for Real Salt Lake in the MLS.

Furthermore, Rigoberto Rives could play a key role behind the forwards, having recently been snapped up by Reggina after a successful loan spell from Inter Milan last year, seeing him find the net seven times in 34 appearances.

Dragos Nedelcu was initially named in Romania's squad for the upcoming tournament, but he was forced to drop out to complete a transfer, seeing Ronaldo Deaconu come in as a replacement.

They will come into the game without midfielder Tudor Baluta, who has been ruled out through injury.

George Ganea should lead the line with the support of Valentin Gheorghe, who has registered 28 goals and nine assists in 119 appearances for Astra Giurgiu in all competitions.

Honduras Under-23s possible starting lineup:
Guity; Maldonado, Carlos Melendez, Decas, Christopher Melendez; Nunez, Rodriguez, Moya; Rivas; Benuche, Martinez

Romania Under-23s possible starting lineup:
Popa; Boboc, Pascanu, Stefan, Ghita; Marin, Ciobanu, Florescu; Sintean, Ganea, Gheorghe

SM words green background

We say: Honduras Under-23s 1-1 Romania Under-23s

The two sides come into the game on a fairly level playing field, and we cannot quite pick a winner, instead opting for a point each from the opening match.

The nature of the match could see both sides take few risks as they prioritise avoiding a harmful defeat to start the group stage, potentially seeing this become a low-scoring encounter as a result.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
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Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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