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Olympic Soccer Preview: USWNT Out Avenge 2016 Failure; Brazil Wants To Defend Men’s Title

The only time the USWNT hasn’t medaled at the Olympics was the last one in Brazil.

The U.S. women's soccer team is determined to make up for its quarterfinal exit in Rio and reassert their dominance at the Tokyo Olympics, while Brazil will aim to repeat as champion in the men's event after ending its long wait for gold in 2016.

The United States has won four of the six gold medals since a women's tournament was introduced to the Olympic programme at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and as current world champion it starts as clear favorite again.

The squad is based heavily on the one which dominated at the 2019 World Cup in France, with some of the biggest names in the women's game returning for what could be their swan song.

Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd are among the forwards selected by Vlatko Andonovski, who has taken over as head coach from Jill Ellis and leads the side into his first major tournament.

"We’ve got a balanced team with many players who can play several positions and that will be valuable as we try to play six games in 17 days in heat and humidity," he said.

"Our coaching staff has confidence that any player on the roster can perform when they get their chance."

Host Japan, World Cup winner in 2011 and Olympic silver medallist a year later in London, presents a real threat to the Americans, with the Netherlands, Britain, Australia and Canada also hoping to make their presence felt.

Sweden, which beat the United States in a quarterfinal shootout five years ago before losing to Germany in the final, is also back in the medal hunt.

In the men's tournament, Brazil ended its Olympic drought on home soil five years ago, with Neymar providing the star quality as an over-age player, and has a real chance of defending its crown in Tokyo.

As well as an array of talented youngsters, 38-year-old Dani Alves provides experience in defence and Everton's Richarlison a threat in attack.

Germany has picked seven members of the team that won the U-21 European Championship along with 33-year-old forward Max Kruse of Union Berlin, who has 14 caps with the full national side.

Spain will also be in contention after naming a squad that includes six members of its current European Championship side including goalkeeper Unai Simon, defender Eric Garcia and midfielder Pedri Gonzalez.

France has called up veteran striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and winger Florian Thauvin, who both play in Mexico for Tigres, as over-age players.

Argentina has named just one over-age player in goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma, who plays in Spain for Cadiz, while Mexico also has an over-age keeper in Guillermo Ochoa, a veteran of four World Cup campaigns.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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