- Close-up on five players to follow at the Olympic Tournament
- On the French side, Upamecano and Aouar could shine
- All you need to know about Tokyo 2020
In July at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Men’s Football Tournament, Europe will be represented by Germany, Spain, France and Romania.
FIFA.com looks at five players in the making, who wore their nation’s colours last year in the UEFA U-21 Championship and who could perhaps even be seen at UEFA EURO 2020.
Mikel Oyarzabal (Spain)
Club: Real Sociedad / Position: Left winger / Age: 22
The talent of the Basque is unanimous. Already captain of Real Sociedad, the winger is promised a bright future. Agile and skilful rather than fast, Oyarzabal sows terror in La Liga defences with his changes of pace on both sides. In front of goal, he shows a good sense of finish. He has been a senior selection manager several times, and has added a new dynamism to the Roja.
Dayot Upamecano (France)
Club: RB Leipzig / Position: Central Defender / Age: 21
Imposing, fast and skilful ball to foot, Upamecano possesses all the qualities necessary for a modern central defender. Despite his young age, the former Valenciennes resident has already been in the Bundesliga for three seasons. With a good reading of the game, composure and an ability to search for long passes, Upamecano has aroused the interest of big European clubs. Although competition in the senior France team is fierce, it could represent the future in this sector among Blue.
Suat Serdar (Germany)
Club: Schalke / Position: Central midfielder / Age: 22
After struggling to establish himself, Serdar became an essential cog in Schalke 04 under coach David Wagner. The arrival on the bench of the former Huddersfield Town and Borussia Dortmund manager has given the midfielder a new lease of life, which now plays an important role in the transition phases. Ranked among the best tacklers and dribblers in the Bundesliga to date, he has advanced Konigsblauen and has distinguished himself in front of the cage this season, with six goals so far. He honoured his first senior cap in October and hopes to earn a starting spot there soon.
Ionut Radu (Romania)
Club: Genoa (on loan from Inter Milan) / Position: Goalkeeper / Age: 22
Radu is one of the great architects of the feat accomplished by the U-21s, who gave Romania its first qualification for the Olympic Games in more than half a century. A resident of the Italian Serie A for 18 months, he has seen his performances rewarded in his country with the Nicolae Dobrin “Romanian Footballer of the Year” award in December. Engaged in the fight to maintain with Genoa, the goalkeeper is the author of spectacular saves that have not gone unnoticed by many recruiters. He hopes to play a key role in the race for the Olympic podium in the Tricolorii.
Houssem Aouar (France)
Club: Lyon / Position: Midfielder / Age: 21
Cold blood, vision, speed, sense of purpose, speed of execution: Aouar has the full range of a good attacking midfielder, which he spreads in the open in Ligue 1 and uefa Champions League. The central midfielder, who has already had the honour of wearing the armband for Lyon, deploys a fluid game. His axis races, his ability to create opportunities and spaces, and his ability to play on the left wing make him a major asset in the quest for an Olympic medal Blueberries.