Nigeria and Oranje step in

Nigeria and the Netherlands square off on 7 August in Tianjin in the marquee match-up of the Men's Olympic Football Tournament's Group B. The earlier contest will pit an impressive-looking USA against the youthful Japanese in an enticing contest.

The games
Japan-USA, 7 July 17:00 (local time)
Netherlands-Nigeria, 6 July 19:45 (local time)

The context
The Dutch are bursting with talented graduates of the country's renowned youth program. Liverpool's Ryan Babel leads a crew which also includes Real Madrid's Royston Drenthe, Hedwiges Maduro and is rounded out by overage goal-poacher supreme, Roy Makaay. The Nigerians also have a golden generation of their own to work with. Taye Taiwo will join up with Promise Isaac and Everton's Victor Anichebe, while Peter Odemwingie of Lokomotiv Moscow leads coach Samson Siasia's over-age delegation.

Yasuharu Sorimachi's Japanese have opted not to use any over-age players, relying solely on the U-23 stars who stumbled in qualifying. The American squad is built up around two cycles of accomplished U-20 standouts. Jozy Altidore, Freddy Adu and Benny Feilhaber highlight the youth brigade while age and experience is represented in the form of iconic Brian McBride, who returns from international retirement to hunt Olympic gold.

The player to watch: Victor Anichebe (NGA)
Though born in Lagos, Anichebe moved as a child to the English city of Liverpool, where he developed into a quick, direct and powerful striker in the Everton Youth Academy. Since his debut with the Toffees in 2006, he already made 44 appearances in Premier League and impressed sufficiently that he was called up by coach Samson Siasia for the crucial Men's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 qualifier against South Africa on 26 March. His impact was immediate, coming off the bench to claim the final goal in a decisive 3-0 win. Now the 20 year-old striker hopes to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, who won gold at Atlanta in 1996.

The numbers game
1 -
The number of previous Olympic gold medallists lining up in Group B. Nigeria won the finals in Atlanta in 1996. It is also the number of times Japan have won an Olympic medal in football - they finished third at Mexico 1968.

The quotes
"We've been practising for this tournament for a long time. With the players we have, and the preparations we've made, there's no telling what we can do or how far we can go," USA striker Jozy Altidore.

"I think we have a squad capable of showing the world they are good enough for the gold medal. The entire nation is banking on this set of players," Nigeria coach Samson Siasia.

The question
Is this the toughest of all the groups?