Brazil vs. Spain in the combined XI for the gold medal match in men’s soccer.
This year’s gold medal match between Brazil and Spain has the potential to be one of the greatest in recent memory in terms of Olympic gold medal matchups.
On one of the greatest platforms in international soccer, the Olympic final,
two of soccer’s established powerhouses show the world their future generation of stars (including Dani Alves).
So, before the stars hit the field, let’s talk about who would make up a combined XI for the two legendary countries.
BRAZIL vs. SPAIN COMBINED XI
GK: Santos (BRA)
Santos is one of three over-age players on Brazil’s Olympic team,
and he showed his expertise in the penalty shootout against Mexico. Santos easily saved the first penalty and would have saved the second if it hadn’t rang off the woodwork instead. Brazil has only surrendered once in the five matches since a 4-2 victory over Germany on Matchday 1 — a goal against Saudi Arabia on Matchday 3.
Guilherme Arana, LB (BRA)
Arana has been a key figure in Brazil’s possession strategy. He climbs the pitch high, overlaps with Richarlison, and crosses into the box. On Matchday 1, the Atletico Miniero defender assisted against Germany, and he has played every minute of this year’s Olympics save one. He was crucial against Mexico in the semifinals, winning 13 of 17 duels and neutralizing the Mexican duo of Uriel Antuna and Diego Lainez.
Pau Torres (CB) (ESP)
Villarreal’s center-back shone late in the European Championships, and he’ll do it again in the Olympics. The Spaniard has been one of the greatest defenders at the Olympics, winning over 60% of his duels and being the top defender on a team that has only allowed three goals, and his partnership with Barcelona’s Eric Garcia has probably been the best center back tandem of the tournament.
Nino, CB (BRA)
Diego Carlos of Sevilla is in Brazil’s squad, but it’s the lesser-known Nino of Fluminese who has impressed the most. Nino has played a crucial role in sweeping away any threat, leading the team with 15 clearances and ranking in the top ten in the Olympics. He also wins over 75 percent of his ground duels and 60 percent of his air duels, and he completes over 85 percent of his back-to-back passes.
Dani Alves, RB (BRA)
The guy who will never grow old. Dani Alves, 38, was named captain of his country for these Olympics and has been the finest defender on the field. Viewers will remember his stunning penalty in the semifinal shootout against Mexico, but it’s been his country’s most consistent performance throughout the tournament. Alves is all over the field; he leads the games in crucial passes, is second in completed tackles, and is in the top 10 in successful dribbles. 90 minutes remain for the most decorated player in the history of the men’s game to win yet another title.
Martin Zubimendi, CDM (ESP)
Every good team requires a stopgap midfielder who can sit in front of the defense and win the ball back; for Spain, such a player has been Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi. While he has the flexibility to advance while Spain is in possession, the majority of his duty is to cause havoc for the opponent. Zubimendi has been outstanding in the air, winning more than 80% of his aerial duels, and he has also been effective at regaining possession of the ball, with 1.41 interceptions and 1.88 tackles per 90 minutes.
Bruno Guimaraes, CM (BRA)
Bruno Guimaraes has been touted as the next Lyon midfielder to join a European powerhouse, and he’s been shown to be a class act throughout the tournament. He’s been Brazil’s most creative midfielder, completing over 90% of his passes, generating three huge opportunities, and assisting on two occasions. Guimaraes also makes a defensive contribution, getting the ball back in the middle third and starting the transition for a Brazilian team that likes to play wide. In the semifinal shootout against Mexico, he again scored a spectacular penalty that placed Brazil on the verge of victory.
Pedri Pedri Pedri (ESP)
Between club tournaments, the Euros, and the Olympics, Saturday’s gold medal match will be Pedri’s 73rd appearance on the field this season. Despite this, the 18-year-old Barcelona wonderkid continues to impress for his country. While he has yet to contribute a goal, his inventive and wide passing range has been on full show for a team that lacked offensive power until the knockout rounds. He’ll be the one to orchestrate Spain’s victory against Brazil, and after he’s done, he’ll finally be able to relax. That is, until the start of Barcelona’s season in eight days.
Mikel Oyarzabal, FW (ESP)
Real Sociedad has a strong presence in this Spanish team, with club captain Mikel Oyarzabal standing out. Oyarzabal, like other Spanish strikers in the tournament, came alive in the knockout round, scoring a goal and assisting on Marco Asensio’s extra-time winner against Japan in a 5-2 quarterfinal victory. He’s played as a winger and a center-forward so far, but he’ll continue to be important for Spain in the final third regardless of where he plays on Saturday.
Richarlison, FW (BRA)
Richarlison’s campaign could not have begun any better,
as he dominated the headlines after scoring a hat trick in the first half against Germany on Matchday 1. He then had a great group stage, scoring two more goals against Saudi Arabia on Matchday 3. While he has yet to score in the knockout rounds,
he did assist a goal against Egypt and continues to look every bit as threatening. In a Brazil assault that features outstanding young talents like Antony and Matheus Cunha,
Richarlison is unquestionably the guy to watch.
Dani Olmo (Fashion Week) (ESP)
Dani Olmo of Leipzig, like Oyarzabal, has emerged as a standout performer as the competition proceeds. In an exciting 5-2 quarterfinal victory over Ivory Coast, he scored Spain’s first goal and subsequently added an assist. He assisted Spain’s lone goal on Matchday 3 in a 1-1 draw with Argentina, and his 1.6 crucial passes per game suggest he’s been generating opportunities for his team in the final third. Olmo is a versatile player who can play on either side
and should play a key part in the final versus Brazil.