Well, the knockout field is set for the Olympics. There were some interesting stories in group play that added a little drama to this lackluster pool of teams. The best thing that happened was the train wreck that happened to Spain “so called” legacy was shocking. So shocking that the media didn’t know how to respond to this disaster. Spain that has been so dominant in the past six years of play didn’t make it to the next round. Yahoo, Msn, Fox Sports spent most of the day discussing that a gold medalist parents kept her grandparents death a secret but Spain not making the next round, also went completely scoreless (no goals scored) in the tournament, is a unworthy story to tell. The big question that has been asked so many times last few years about Spain soccer teams, “Is it the system that is crating success or the players?” Thanks to Spain’s Olympic team that question was answered.
The players of the current senior international squad are the reason for Spain success. Sadly with this embarrassing display of soccer, does this create more pressure on the regular national squad to perform better to heal this giant wound? Yet again, Spain manages to avoid playing Brazil. Maybe they should check if they are apart of the Badminton scandal as well. Most of the field turned out like expected. Uruguay was little disappointing because of Luis Suárez constant “cold war” with the media. Overall, group play was actually pretty decent. Now it’s time for the fun to begin. Lets take a look at the quarterfinal match ups….
Japan vs. Egypt
In this match up the edge goes to Egypt. Japan is consistently solid overall but don’t really have play makers and game changers. Japan has a disciplined defense but Egypt has some athletic players that make that last little touch count. If Japan want to make this a game, they need to be physical. Japan needs to take notes from the New Zealand game. Egypt went toe-to-toe with Brazil and almost won. They have to come hard and fast and make Japan chase the game. Prediction: Egypt scores first: 3-1 Win; If Japan scores first: 2-1 loss in overtime to Egypt.
Mexico vs. Senegal
Mexico started off slow but are now playing quite well. Mexico has the edge in this battle because of there creative style and fluid play. Senegal has some athletic players but lack that tactical approach to the game. Senegal needs to be patient and wait for Mexico to make mistakes because Senegal has the speed up front to punish the Mexican side. The Mexican side just needs keep there ego in check and not get fancy with the ball and make smart choices. Prediction: 2-0 Mexico.
Brazil vs. Honduras
Well this game will not be a contest. Brazil scored 9 goals in group play, which sadly is two more than the entire group D scored (combined). Brazil is making very clear to the world that it wants a gold medal and that they’re ready to defend its home turf in 2014 World Cup. Honduras has made some defensive improvements with players and tactics but playing an open style game against Brazil will be a massacre. Honduras has to find a way to maintain the ball for the majority of the match (to have a prayer). Prediction: Brazil 4-1 Win.
Great Britain vs. South Korea
This is actually a pretty good match up. South Korea is like Japan in that it has solid defensive presence. The Korean side had solid play in group play because they handled a creative Mexican squad, beat a European squad, and held a high octane of speed offense of Gabon. Great Britain had okay outings in group play. The Brits faced a decent Senegal team but didn’t face any real competition the rest of the way. I give a Great Britain a slight advantage in this game. South Korea played better teams but Great Britain has much better flank play than those the Korean side saw earlier in this tournament. Secondly, the Korean side will be facing a true home crowd. Prediction: Great Britain 2-1 Win.