While the Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo is set for this Friday, action on the soccer pitch for the men will begin on Thursday as all 16 teams that have qualified will play their openers. Beginning a day after the women start their tournament, the schedule features some intriguing games, highlighted early on by Mexico taking on France, while the day ends with Brazil facing Germany. A talented Spain team kicks off the action against Egypt at, wait for it, 3:30 a.m. ET, bringing back 2002 World Cup time slot vibes.
You can stream the Summer Olympics and both men’s and women’s soccer on fuboTV (Try for free).
Here’s a look at the schedule for Thursday, how to watch each game and what to look for:
Olympic schedule: Men’s soccer
Thursday July 22
All times Eastern
Egypt vs. Spain, 3:30 a.m. (Olympic Channel and Universo)
Mexico vs. France, 4 a.m. (USA and Telemundo)
New Zealand vs. South Korea, 4 a.m. (NBCSN)
Ivory Coast vs. Saudi Arabia 4:30 a.m. (Olympic Channel)
Argentina vs. Australia, 6:30 a.m. (Olympic Channel and Universo)
Japan vs. South Africa, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)
Honduras vs. Romania, 7 a.m. (Olympic Channel)
Brazil vs. Germany, 7:30 a.m. (USA and Telemundo)
What to watch
Mexico vs. France: Boy should this be an intriguing one. France striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, who plays for Mexican club Tigres, will battle players he is quite familiar with to kick things off. These are two national teams have quite a bit of history, dating back to the 1930 World Cup. They’ve met at four World Cups, but his will be their first meeting since Mexico’s 2-0 win at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Expect quite the display of speed and technical ability, with France being the favorites.
Argentina vs. Australia: All eyes on Argentina as they look for Olympic gold for the third time ever and third in the last five editions, having won in 2004 and 2008, the latter with Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme. Now, this team doesn’t have a Messi or Riquelme, but there are still some players to keep an eye on, such as Lanus talent Pedro da la Vega, CSKA Moscow striker Adolfo Gaich and talented midfielder Alexis Mac Allister of Brighton. There is enough talent here to make the gold medal game.
Brazil vs. Germany: This isn’t 2014 World Cup semifinal level, but it should be a blast. It’s a rematch of the 2016 final, which Brazil won on penalty kicks with Neymar making the decisive one. This is a great glimpse at the upcoming talent in both systems, and the Brazil squad is particularly intriguing with the attacking players in the squad. While there are established players like Richarlison of Everton, young guys like Matheus Cunha of Hertha Berlin, Ajax’s Antony and Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli are looking to shine on the international stage ahead of what are huge domestic seasons for them in Europe.
Be sure to stick with CBSSports.com for our coverage of the competition.