Men’s Olympics 2024 Group C teams & prediction: Uzbeks to spring a shock?

The men’s olympics 2024 Group C teams consist of Spain, Egypt, Uzbekistan and the Dominican Republic. 

While Spain do rank among one of the favourites for the tournament, this is one of the weaker groups overall which features two of the outsiders. Egypt are the second favourites to win the group and they did reach the quarter-finals at London 2012 and Tokyo 2020, but they’re not viewed as serious contenders in Paris.

Men’s olympics 2024 Group C teams - spain
Fermin Lopez was also part of Spain's Euro 2024 squad – Photo by Icon Sport

Men's olympics 2024 Group C prediction

Group Winners – Spain

It’d be a real shock if this group ended up with anyone but Spain coming out on top. La Roja have a really strong record in under-age competitions over the past couple of decades, reaching the final in five of the last seven European U21 championships, while they were Olympic silver medalists in Tokyo three summers ago.

This is perhaps a slightly weaker squad than that one with Spain this time neglecting the opportunity to send young stars like Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams to the olympics. However they have included two members of their Euro 2024 squad with Villarreal’s Alex Baena and Barcelona’s Fermin Lopez also heading to France after their time in Germany is over.

Baena led the assist rankings in La Liga last term with 14 and could have a big role to play while the likes of Eric Garcia, Pablo Barrios and Roma transfer target Sergio Gomez ensure this Spanish squad should be too strong for their Group C rivals.

Men’s olympics 2024 Group C teams
Eldor Shomurodov is the danger man for Uzbekistan – Photo by Icon Sport

Runners up – Uzbekistan

To qualify for this event, the Central Asians defeated Saudi Arabia on their way to the final of the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup where they were only narrowly defeated by Japan.

It was actually the fourth time in a row at that tournament that they’d reached the last four, so Uzbekistan do head into their first ever Olympics with a fair degree of pedigree in terms of Asian youth football.

Having never played at a World Cup, this is a seismic moment for Uzbek football and they are taking it very seriously indeed with senior team captain Eldor Shomurodov called up as one of their over-age players. The Roma forward has scored 40 goals in 73 internationals and could be a real handful.

Uzbekistan also have a really exciting 20 year old midfielder in the shape of Abbosbek Fayzullaev while winger Oston Urunov and Lens defender Abdukodir Khusanov are also established senior internationals This is a really good moment for football in Uzbekistan and their squad looks strong enough to spring something of a surprise and pip Egypt to second place in this group.

Men’s olympics 2024 Group C teams - egypt
Experienced Mohamed Elneny has been called up by Egypt – Photo by Icon Sport

Third place – Egypt

Egypt have included over-age players Zizo and Mohamed Elneny in their squad. The latter is out of contract after leaving Arsenal but could still be a really important player for his country over the next few weeks with the 31 year old having amassed more than 100 caps at senior level.

Fenerbahce’s 21 year old centre-back Omar Fayed is one of their brighter young prospects but most of the squad plays its football in Egypt and is relatively untested at the top level.

The Pharaohs qualified after reaching the final of the 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations where they lost to Morocco, but they kept a clean sheet in every fixture en-route to that match and they could be a difficult side to break down in France.

That being said, it’s hard to see where their goals are going to come from and they may find themselves at risk of an early exit given that unlike in the women’s tournament, all third placed teams will be eliminated in the men’s event.

Men’s olympics 2024 Group C teams - firpo
Junior Firpo will represent the Dominican Republic – Photo by Icon Sport

Eliminated – Dominican Republic

The final team in Group C is the Dominican Republic and they will most likely be making up the numbers with the Caribbean nation likely to find the step up in quality much too great when they take on the likes of Spain at this tournament.

They surprisingly made it all the way to the final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship to qualify for this event but that was two years ago and they were hammered 6-0 by the United States in the gold medal match.

They will have one familiar name among their ranks with Leeds United’s Junior Firpo recently declaring to represent the country of his birth. Getafe’s Madrid-born Peter Federico is also part of the Dominican squad but they don’t look to have enough to avoid the wooden spoon in this group and may do well to even pick up a point.

Group C Winners – Potential quarter-final opponents

The winner of this group will face the runners up of Group D which features Japan, Paraguay, Mali and Israel. Group D is in many respects the most interesting of the four in the men’s olympics tournament with all the teams having a realistic shot at progressing. 

Paraguay are the slight favourites to finish first at 2/1 with Mali or Japan seen as the most likely runners up, but even 4/1 outsiders Israel should be really competitive and could easily end up being the first knockout opponents for the winners of Group C.

Mark is a freelance football writer based in Madrid. He regularly attends and covers La Liga matches around Spain, whilst also following football across Europe.