With Japan eyeing its first men’s Olympic soccer medal in 53 years following a perfect group stage, it would seem at first glance as though there’s no better time than now to get excited about the tournament, with quarterfinals starting Saturday.

But poor performances by some of the sport’s powerhouses, including reigning world champion France — who were beaten by Japan 4-0 on Wednesday — and recent Copa America winner Argentina, are a reminder that the reality of the relationship between the world’s most popular sport and the Olympics is far more complicated.

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