Argentina and Portugal enter the Olympic men’s soccer tournament as two of the better teams in the 16-squad field, and they open their respective accounts against each other Thursday afternoon. The match is scheduled to kick off at 5:00 p.m. Eastern from the Olympic Stadium in Rio on NBCSN, and it can also be streamed at NBCOlympics.com and on the the NBC Sports app.
Argentina qualified for the Olympics by winning the South American Youth Championships (a U-20 competition) last summer in Uruguay, with Genoa forward Giovanni Simeone being the star of the tournament. Simeone, the son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, scored a tournament-best nine goals in Uruguay. Also on the roster from that team is Atletico Madrid forward Angel Correa, who scored four goals in last summer’s South American Youth Championships. Four clubs can claim two players on Argentina’s Olympic roster, with Atletico Madrid joining domestic sides Boca Juniors, River Plate and Rosario Central for that distinction.
As for Portugal, they earned their spot in the Olympic field by reaching the semifinals of last summer’s UEFA U-21 Championships before ultimately losing the final to Sweden in penalties. There was a lot of turnover on the Portuguese roster, with Porto forward Gonçalo Paciência being the lone returnee with a goal in last summer’s U-21 European Championships. 13 of the 18 players on the roster play their club soccer in Portugal, with two being members of Porto’s main team and two others competing for Porto B.
Also in Group D are Algeria and Honduras, who met in the second match of the day.