The United States and Nigeria are tied on four points at the top of Men's Olympic Football Tournament Group B, making their meeting in Beijing a potential scorcher. Elsewhere in Shenyang, the Netherlands will take on already eliminated Japan needing a win to reach the quarter-finals.
The Americans were literally seconds away from a guaranteed spot in the quarter-finals during their last game in Tianjin. Only a Gerald Sibon free kick in the dying moments of stoppage time brought the Dutch level and cast the USA's future in the tournament in doubt. Now Peter Nowak's talented youngsters will need to draw or beat a steadily improving Nigerian team without suspended Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley to keep their future in their own hands.
The European champion Dutch escaped early elimination against the States, but will be up against a talented Japanese side playing only for pride in their last match. With two points to show for their two matches only a win could see the Lowlanders through to the quarter-finals. Injured Roy Makaay looks likely to be restored for match, where he is likely to partner Liverpool's Ryan Babel up front.
Player to watch: Jozy Altidore (USA)
Villarreal recently forked over ten million USD to make the USA striker the most expensive American export of all-time. Starting on the bench in the first two matches, the former New York Red Bull striker looks likely to get the nod with fellow teenage phenom Adu suspended. Altidore will be keen to add to the goal he scored against the Dutch and will partner old veteran Brian McBride in attack.
The numbers game
50 - The percentage of Group B goals that were scored by substitutes less than 18 minutes after entering a match (4 out of 8).
"The USA will be a very dangerous opponent for us because they are one of the top teams at this competition and also because they will be playing for their lives," Nigeria striker Victor Obinna.
"The boys will surely go out and try to beat the Dutch in our last game, but I fear that, for Japan, the Olympic journey is probably over," Japan coach Yosuharu Sorimachi.
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