While you can’t call the men’s Olympic soccer tournament’s Group B the Group of Death, it’s pretty damn close. With the Netherlands, an underrated Nigeria and the United States all vying for a top two spot, this group is going to be brutal.
Just how brutal? Just take a look at the rosters for the other teams in Group B with the United States:
GOALKEEPERS: Piet Velthuizen (Vitesse), Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax)
DEFENDERS: Kew Jaliens (AZ), Calvin Jong-A-Pin (SC Heerenveen), Kees Luijcks (AZ), Dirk Marcelis (PSV), Erik Pieters (PSV), Gianni Zuiverloon (West Bromwich Albion)
MIDFIELDERS: Otman Bakkal (PSV), Urby Emanuelson (Ajax), Jonathan de Guzman (Feyenoord), Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia), Evander Sno (Celtic)
FORWARDS: Roy Beerens (sc Heerenveen), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Royston Drenthe (Real Madrid), Roy Makaay (Feyenoord), Gerald Sibon (sc Heerenveen).
GOALKEEPERS: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv/ISR), Ambrose Vanzekin (Akwa United), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Ocean Boys)
DEFENDERS: Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille/FRA), Monday James (sans club), Onyekachi Apam (Nice/FRA), Dele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam/HOL), Olubayo Adefemi (Hapoel Bnei Lod/ISR), Chibuzo Okonkwo (Bayelsa United)
MIDFIELDERS: Sani Kaita (Sparta Rotterdam/HOL), Olufemi Oladapo (Boavista/POR), Emmanuel Ekpo (Columbus Crew/USA), Oluwafemi Ajilore (Groningue/HOL), Promise Isaac (Genclerbirligi/TUR), Chinedu Ogbuke (Hoffenheim/ALL), Bernard Okorowanta (Sivasspor/TUR), Yinka Adedeji (3SC)
FORWARDS: Victor Anichebe (Everton/ANG), Obinna Nsofor (Chievo/ITA), Peter Odemwingie (Locomotiv Moscou/RUS), Ikechukwu Uche (Getafe/ESP), Solomon Okoronkwo (Hertha Berlin/ALL)
GOALKEEPERS: Kaito Yamamoto (S-Pulse), Shusaku Nishikawa (Trinita)
DEFENDERS: Hiroki Mizumoto (Sanga), Hajime Hosogai (Reds), Naoaki Aoyama (S-Pulse), Masato Morishige (Trinita), Michihiro Yasuda (Gamba), Atsuto Uchida (Antlers), Maya Yoshida (Grampus)
MIDFIELDERS: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba), Takuya Honda (S-Pulse), Hiroyuki Taniguchi (Frontale), Yohei Kajiyama (FC Tokyo), Keisuke Honda (VVV Venlo), Tsukasa Umesaki (Reds)
FORWARDS: Yohei Toyoda (Montedio), Tadanari Lee (Reysol), Shinji Okazaki (S-Pulse), Shinzo Koroki (Antlers), Takayuki Morimoto (Catania)
The Dutch, led by Ryan Babel, Roy Makaay, Roysten Drenthe and Jonathan Guzman, is the clear favorite. Nigeria, which features Victor Anichebe, Peter Odemwingie, Ikechukwu Uche and Taye Taiwo, is also dangerous. Japan, which only brought one over-age player and is lacking any senior national team stars, looks like the weak link.
What do you think of the group? Can the Americans advance out of this group? are the Dutch a lock to win the group? Share your thoughts below.