Nigeria Opponents Japan Eye Rio Olympics Medal

Urawa Reds defender Wataru Endo believes a medal is a realistic target at this summer’s Rio Olympics after the Asian Under-23 champions saw off Ghana 3-0 in an international friendly on Wednesday.

Japan are drawn in a first-round group with Colombia, Nigeria and Sweden at the Olympic football tournament.

Endo acknowledges that Japan will not start among the favourites, but after beating Ghana in a friendly, belief is beginning to grow.

“At the last Olympics, the team came very close to winning a medal but didn’t get one,” Endo told The Japan Times.

“I was happy that they were winning but watching on TV it was frustrating that they didn’t get anything. I want to change history this time around.

“Winning a medal has been our goal all along, and if we play the way we want to for the full 90 minutes then I don’t think that’s beyond us.

“I can’t say I’m 100 percent confident, but if we play with confidence then we’ll have a chance of winning a medal.

“The most important thing for us now is for each player to play for their clubs and show what they can do there. That’s what we need to do if we want to win a medal. It’s very important that everyone is aware of what they’re doing.”

Japan is looking for their first men’s Olympic soccer medal since winning bronze at the 1968 Mexico City Games, having reached the semifinals only to end up empty-handed four years ago in London.

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