NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Neymar of Brazil shoots during the Men's Football first round Group C match between Brazil and New Zealand on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at St James' Park on August 01, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)
4 Total Updates since August 4, 2012
10 months ago Update 0 comments
Great Britain's hopes for a medal in football have been dashed at the quarter-final stage after South Korea won 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Daniel Sturridge missed the deciding penalty kick, with his penalty saved by substitute goal-keeper Lee Bum-Young, proving once again, that stutter run ups in penalties are dumb. After that, Celtic's Ki Sung-Yeung stepped up and smashed his penalty into the top of the goal to send South Korea into the semi-finals and, at least, the bronze-medal match.
South Korea dominated the initial proceedings, with their high-pressure game wreaking havoc on Great Britain's passing game. The pressure and rutted pitch made the British passing suffer, and they looked extremely flat compared to South Korea. A couple of long shots, though, was South Korea's only result from their dominance until Ji Dong-won's 29th minute hard hit shot went through Jack Butland. The chance came after Ki Sung-yueng's brilliant side footed layoff, and was a well deserved lead.
Great Britain, though, immediately responded, with a nice combination between Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy and Sturridge showing things to come. One minute later, Britain had a chance to equalise, after Ryan Bertrand's shot hit the arm of a sliding Oh Jaesuk to give Britain a penalty. Aaron Ramsey stepped up and scored his penalty, despite the fact that it went under the hand of Jung Sungryoung. 4 minutes later, in the 39th minute, Britain had another penalty, with Daniel Sturridge tripped in the penalty box trying to control Scott Sinclair's through pass. This time, Ramsey didn't score, with Jung going right and saving Ramsey's hard-hit but low penalty.
Britain, though, were starting to dominate, and continued to do so in the second half. Their three v two advantage in the midfield started to tell, with Ramsey dictating play and spreading the ball wide to the wide areas, especially to Craig Bellamy, where Britain were dominant. From that combination, a glorious chance was created in the 48th minute; Bellamy's cross just evaded the toe of Tom Cleverley after he made a run into the 6 yard box. Cleverley lookd very frustrated with himself, and he should've scored.
7 minutes later, a scary collision between Micah Richards and Jung saw both come off with injury, with Craig Dawson replacing Richards. That, though, didn't change Britain's dominance, although Ji had a glorious chance late in normal time, but headed wide of goal. Britain had better chances, with Daniel Sturridge's flicked shot parried before Craig Dawson fired a long shot from thirty yards that was heading in until Kim Younggwon stuck his face into the shot, sending it over the bar.
Britain, though, couldn't create anything else, and extra time beckoned. Both sides had good chances in the early stages, but the match descended into South Korea sitting deep and Britain hitting long diagonals for substitute Danny Rose, to no effect.
The match would be decided on penalties, and the first four from each side were impressively made, until Sturridge had his penalty saved, sending Britain out earlier than they should've been.
South Korea will face Brazil in the semi-final on Tuesday, while Britain's players, such as Ryan Giggs, Sturridge, Steven Caulker, Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey will get a short layoff before the Premier League season starts in two-weeks.
10 months ago Update 0 comments
The favourites made it through, but it wasn't exactly easy. Brazil twice had to come from behind against Honduras in what was eventually a 3-2 win, and never looked anything like their brilliant best in reaching the quarterfinals. For some time, it looked as though Honduras would be able to repeat their giant killing against Spain, but a red card and a silly penalty allowed Brazil back into the game, and once they established a lead they were, barely, able to hang on.
Brazil had the best of the early exchanges, with Leandro Damiao flashing a shot past Jose Mendoza's left post and Neymar nearly managing to latch onto a lovely through ball from Oscar a few moments later. But the atmosphere around the match changed in an instant when Honduras took a shock lead in the twelfth minute.
Rafael da Silva was not enjoying his time at right back, and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza was able to squeeze past him to knock in a cross. The cross wasn't great, and the ball popped up into the mixer only to be met by Mario Martinez. The midfielder's volley was subtle and sweet, arcing over Gabriel and dropping into the far corner to make it 1-0 Honduras.
Brazil responded by... sulking. Gone were the silky passages of play -- instead they gave us forced short passes, failing to take advantage of any of the opportunities that the Honduras defence presented. But a bizarre series of decisions by Wilmer Crisanto just after the half-hour mark gave the favourites a way back into the match. Shown a yellow card for a foul on Hulk, the defender responded by kicking out at Neymar all of thirty seconds later, and was rightly dismissed for his complete loss of discipline.
Honduras then presented Brazil with another gift, allowing Leandro Damiao to scramble home from very close range after completely failing to deal with a loose ball in the box. With the score level and Honduras down to ten, it looked as though they could be in a world of trouble, but just after halftime they managed to grab the lead again. Espinoza drove forward and let fly with a low shot from outside the box, and despite a dive from Gabriel it snuck inside the far post to give Honduras a 2-1 lead.
That lead lasted not long at all. Oscar and then Leandro Damiao went down in the box, and although the first was ignored by Felix Brych, Jose Velasquez's challenge on the latter did not go unpunished -- although it possibly should have -- with Brych pointing to the spot and Neymar stepping up for the instant equaliser.
Honduras would not manage to get another lead. Ten minutes after Neymar's spot kick, he turned provider, dancing through the defence and threading a pass to Leandro Damiao, who did well to turn his marker before slamming a shot past Mendoza to make it 3-2.
The match wasn't over, though. Gabriel's a weak link for Brazil, and his failure to claim a corner led to a mad scramble in the box which ended with an Espinoza shot over the bar from four yards out and the goal at his mercy. Then Romelu managed to avoid a red card of his own after clattering that same Espinoza in the midfield, managing to evade punishment from Brych by faking an injury (cunning!). The resulting free kick from Maynor Figueroa nearly blasted Gabriel into his own net, but the goalkeeper held on with two white shirts looking for a rebound.
It wasn't a vintage Brazil performance by any stretch of the imagination, and it's not really an exaggeration to suggest that they were hanging on (against nine men after Espinoza was dismissed for a second yellow) by the end of the match. Still, it worked for them, and they're through to the semifinals after a 3-2 win. They'll face the winner of South Korea and Great Britain -- and those two teams will be thoroughly pleased by the mediocre display on show at St. James' Park.
10 months ago Update 0 comments
Mexico are through to the semifinals of the London 2012 Olympics men's soccer tournament, and have a chance to capture a medal for the first time. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in their quarterfinal match against Senegal, but threw that lead away and were forced into extra time. In that extra period, Senegal's defense made two terrible mistakes, gifting El Tri the 4-2 victory.
Jorge Enriquez scored the opener with a brilliant header off of a free kick in the 10th minute. He made a great run to the near post to get on the end of the ball, then hit a perfect looping header to the back post to give his side the lead. In the 62nd minute, Javier Aquino doubled Mexico's lead.
Senegal fired back and got into the match just seven minutes later when Maccabi Tel-Aviv's Moussa Kounate scored his fifth goal of the tournament. Aquino was withdrawn for Hector Herrera in a slightly defensive move in the 75th minute, and that switch backfired. Immediately after the substitution, Senegal substitute Ibrahima Balde headed in the equalizer that would eventually force extra time.
Despite their fantastic comeback, Senegal would not put up much of a fight in extra time. They gifted Giovani dos Santos the game-winner in the 98th minute when Papa Gueye gave the ball away at the top of his own penalty area. In the 109th minute, Abdoulaye Ba gave Mexico a second gift, misplaying a ball backwards to his keeper. Ousmane Mane couldn't clear and the ball deflected to Herrera to head in and seal the 4-2 win for El Tri.
10 months ago Update 0 comments
Japan have advanced to the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics after beating Egypt 3-0. The winners of Group D following Spain's shock collapse, Japan came out strongly, generating several chances off set pieces before going ahead in the 14th minute. A counterattack led to a neat through pass for Kensuke Nagai, and the forward clipped the ball past a helpless Ahmed Elshenawi and rolled it into the empty net for the game's first goal.
Although they worked their way back into the match somewhat, a similar situation in the 41st minute caused Egypt even more problems. Substitute Manubu Saito, on for Nagai following an injury, was played through the back line and was bundled over by Saadeldin Saad as he bore down on goal. It was outside the box, but a clear red card offence anyway, and Egypt were reduced to ten.
A couple of Shuichi Gonda spills were probably Egypt's best chance of drawing level, but there wasn't much they could do against a reasonably organised Japanese defence. Their attempts at scoring, however, opened up space for the counterattack, and Japan were able to turn one of those forays up the pitch into a second goal when Maya Yoshida glaced a free kick past Elshenawi to make it 2-0 in the 78th minute.
Yuki Otsu applied the killing blow, rising over the Egypt defence to head home Takahiro Ohgihara's excellent cross, and the game was over. By now, Egypt were down to nine men following an injury to Ahmed Hegazi -- they'd already used all three substitutes -- and Japan were able to cruise to an easy victory. They'll play the winner of Mexico and Senegal in the semifinals, and have every chance of coming away from this tournament with a medal.