The host team receiving a cruel exit in the Olympics was poignant. The Brits learned that you need to have a “push for the win” and “not hope to lose” attitude. Brazil scored 3 goals for the fourth consecutive game (what a shock). Japan caught a flat-footed Egyptian team off guard and kept their foot on the gas pedal for a strange 3-0 victory. Mexico resiliency led to a 4-2 victory over an extremely athletic Senegal team. Not a bad round overall but the two of the three main contenders for the Gold Medal are still alive (nothing to special). Onto the next set of matches…
Mexico vs. Japan
This is an interesting match up because both teams played teams with similar styles in this tournament. Mexico had a draw against South Korea and Japan had a draw against Honduras. Oddly enough both were 0-0 draws. Both of these teams are so evenly matched for this contest. The difference in this game will be one play. The question is “which player(s) are going to want it badly enough to move onto the next round?” I give a minimal edge to Mexico because of there ability to play in tight spaces on a consistent basis. They haven’t scored as much as Mexico and don’t have the depth in the shootout. Prediction: Mexico 2-1 in regulation; If it goes to a shootout, 5-3 victory Mexico.
South Korea vs. Brazil
Tragically this will be like the last round because Brazil is on cruise control now. The Brazilians are scoring 3 goals a game and not showing any signs of slowing down. They are proving that they going to take the Gold Medal this Olympics. There only contender left is Mexico. Even if Japan knocks out the Mexicans the Brazilians will have had a tune up match before the Gold Medal game.
South Korea is in a similar boat as Japan because they have to play goal-trading match. Based on the games Brazil has played, the lucky number is at least three to send the game in extra time and 4 for a win. This is new territory for the South Koreans because they are in low scoring affairs and don’t see the powerhouse Brazilian squad often. The Korean side has to take chances and not settle for perfect plays. Prediction: Brazil Wins 3-1.
I know, I have ripped on the field on few occasions this tournament but this is great step for the Asian teams to see other countries styles up close. Hopefully they can learn from these games. Congratulations to all these teams for reaching this stage. Based on from what I have seen, there are some competitive generations coming up in the ranks. These younger guys will be a force to reckon with in the next set of World Cups.