French men favourites to win; women to play holders Canada

Thierry Henry’s France side are firm favourites to progress following a kind group draw for men’s football at the 2024 Olympic Games on Wednesday, as the hosts wait to see if Kylian Mbappé will be made available. In the women’s draw, hosts France are set to face holders Canada while winners USA, Germany and Australia were placed in the same group. 

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“Nothing is easy,” said Henry after the draw, but his side, already among the favourites for the gold medal on home turf, avoided potential pitfalls in not drawing Morocco and Egypt.

Les Bleus are in Group A of the 16-team tournament with New Zealand, USA and the winners of the AFC-CAF play-off.

With talents like Eduardo Camavinga, Bradley Barcola and Warren Zaire-Emery potentially at his disposal, Henry will want to top the group.

Such an outcome could well be key in order to avoid Argentina, who were drawn in Group B alongside Morocco, Ukraine and the third qualifier from Asia.

It is understood that Paris Saint-Germain superstar Mbappé is also very keen to represent his country at the Olympics, but he would likely have little time to rest after Euro 2024.

Football’s world governing body FIFA does not oblige clubs to release players for the Olympics, which could complicate Mbappe’s situation even more.

Spain, the silver medallists in Tokyo, will feature in Group C against Egypt, Dominican Republic and the second qualifier from the AFC.

Group D will include Paraguay, Israel, Mali and the first qualifier from the AFC.

Men’s football at the 2024 Olympics is primarily restricted to players born after January 1, 2001, but each side is allowed to select three players over the age of 23 for their squad.

The men’s tournament will begin on July 24, two days before the Games opening ceremony, and conclude with the final in Paris on August 9.

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals.

Full draw for the men’s football tournament at the 2024 Olympic Games:

Group A: France, New Zealand, USA, ICP AFC-CAF

Group B: Argentina, Morocco, AFC 3, Ukraine

Group C: AFC 2, Spain, Egypt, Dominican Republic

Group D: AFC 1, Paraguay, Mali, Israel

The AFC U-23 Asian Cup will take place in Qatar from April 15 to May 3, the two finalists and the third-placed team will automatically qualify for the Olympics.

The AFC–CAF play-off will decide the final participant at the Games. It will be contested between African side Guinea and the fourth-placed team from the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.


USA and Spain handed tough draws in women’s Olympic tournament

In the women’s draw on Wednesday, four-time winners USA, Germany and Australia were placed in the same group, while hosts France will play holders Canada.

Groups B and C appear particularly challenging, while France and Canada can be hopeful of securing their places in the knock-out rounds from Group A.

The United States will face Germany, Australia and the winner of one of two African play-offs in Group B.

Group C consists of World Cup and Nations League winners Spain, Brazil, Japan and the winner of the other CAF play-off.

France are seeking to become just the second host country to win the Games after the US in 1996.

The hosts were given a relatively easier draw compared to Groups B and C, and will face Canada, Colombia and New Zealand.

The women’s tournament will begin on July 25, one day before the Games opening ceremony, and conclude with the final in Paris on August 10.

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the last quarter-finals, along with the two best third-placed sides.

Full draw for the women’s football tournament at the 2024 Olympic Games:

Group A: France, Canada, Colombia, New Zealand

Group B: USA, Germany, Australia, CAF 2

Group C: Spain, Japan, Brazil, CAF 1

The CAF Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament fourth round will decide the final two participants. The matches will be played over two legs between April 1-9.

Ties:

Zambia v Morocco

Nigeria v South Africa

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)


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