LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: A general view during the Men's Football Quarter Final match between Mexico and Senegal, on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Brazil And Mexico Cruise To Gold Medal Game; Japan And South Korea To Contest Bronze

Brazil and Mexico both put up great semifinal performances at the 2012 Olympics, beating South Korea and Japan respectively to make it to the finals.

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17 Total Updates since August 7, 2012
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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Final Score 3-0, Brazil Stroll To Finals

When Brazil play well, it's not really very fair. They hadn't played well for much of the 2012 Olympics, squeaking past Egypt and Honduras, but a good performance was due, and we got it today in their semifinal match against South Korea.

For the opening stages of the first half. It didn't look as though we'd see Brazil dominate. South Korea had most of the ball and some very good chances to score, and were unlucky not to have been given a penalty when Juan kicked Ji Don-Wong in the head following an error from goalkeeper Gabriel.

But eventually the favourites managed to close up the gaps in midfield and began to dominate possession, with Leandro Damiao beginning to click. A pair of through balls to the Internacional striker exposed the weaknesses in the South Korean defence, and the second resulted in a collision between the centre forward and Korean goalkeeper Lee Bum-Young.

Lee didn't look right following that, but with Jung Sung-Ryong injured in the quarterfinal against Great Britain, there wasn't much choice but for the backup to carry on. Brazil exposed him instantly, with Sandro and Leandro Damaio nearly conspiring to score, and it wouldn't be long before they made the breakthrough. It came from Romulo, who latched onto a pass from Oscar and slipped a shot under the goalkeeper.

Like in the first half, South Korea made a strong push at a goal to start the second. And, just like in the first half, they should almost certainly have had a penalty -- it's a bit of a mystery as to why Pavel Kralovec ignored Sandro wiping out Kim Hyun-Sung, but it definitely didn't help Korea, who then went right back to struggling.

Neymar and Leandro Damiao combined for the next goal, which saw Neymar do a lot of the work with a lovely lot cutback, which was then rifled into the back of Lee's net from the edge of the area, and Leandro notched his brace seven minutes later when a pass from Oscar was inadvertantly deflected into his path, allowing him to finish awkwardly to make it 3-0.

3-0 is how it would stay -- Brazil threw on a pile of substitutes and played around with the ball, while the South Korean spirit was thoroughly broken. Kralovec decided to be merciful and only award two minutes of stoppage time, after which the inevitable was confirmed: Brazil won their fifth of five, and advance to the gold medal game against Mexico.

South Korea, meanwhile, will contest the bronze medal match against Japan on Friday. That match should be fairly tasty as well.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Leandro Damiao Strikes Again, Makes It 3-0

Well, yeah, this game is definitely over now. Brazil are going to the gold medal game of the 2012 Olympics, where they'll face Mexico. It's now 3-0 and you just cannot see South Korea coming back -- Leandro Damiao is their tormentor yet again.

It wasn't a beautiful goal, which is surprising considering that the Selecao had started busting out their tricks with a 2-0 lead. Neymar picked up the ball on the left, wandered through the penalty area, and laid off a pass to Chelsea's Oscar. The midfielder tried a 1-2, but his pass was intercepted and prodded away. Unfortunately for South Korea, it was prodded away straight to the feet of Leandro Damiao, who reacted well to poke a shot past Lee Bum-Young and in. Ouch.

Leandro Damiao, incidentally, becomes the tournament's leading scorer with six goals. Not a bad haul for the Internacional man, who'll be staying in Brazil for at least another season.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Leandro Damiao Doubles Brazil Lead

And just like that, it's 2-0 to Brazil. Neymar had been very quiet in the second half, but in his first major involvement he provided an absolutely vital assist. The Santos star scampered down the left, drifting through the South Korea defence before reaching the byline. Said defence held its breath as to what he'd do next. Would it be a low, driven cross through a packed six yard box? No, actually, it would be a slow cutback to the penalty spot, where Leandro Damiao lurked.

The Internacional centre forward met Neymar's pass perfectly, smashing in a low drive across Lee Bum-Young and into the back to the net to double the Selecao's lead. The Koreans had looked like good money to find an equaliser before that, but unless Brazil break down of their own accord (always a possibility), this match is done. The goal, incidentally, was Leandro Damiao's fifth of the tournament.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: 2nd Half Kicks Off With Poor Penalty Decision

We're back up and running in the day's second Olympic men's football semifinal, where Brazil are leading South Korea 1-0. It hasn't really all gone Brazil's way, however, and they took a good twenty minutes or so to exert anything like control of the match. That didn't stop them scoring, of course -- they went ahead in the 38th minute via Romulo -- but Korea do have a chance if they can hit the favourites hard right from the outset.

They try to do just that as Ji Dong-Won volleys a free kick over Gabriel's volley over the crossbar, and they had a very reasonable chance to equalise when Kim Hyun-Sung burst into the box before being bundled over by Sandro. It was a clear penalty, but, bizarrely, match referee Pavel Kralovec simply waived off the protests. That's the second big decision that's gone against South Korea, which is not what they need as underdogs.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Halftime Score 1-0 Brazil

We've had an entertaining first half in today's second Olympic men's football semifinal, and Brazil are leading South Korea 1-0 thanks to a 38th minute goal from Romulo (and some really dire goalkeeping from Lee Bum-Young). It hasn't all gone their way, however -- the Selecao were very lucky not to have conceded in the early stages, where the Koreans were overruning the centre of the park, and Korea had a very good shout for a penalty when Juan kicked Sunderland striker Ji Dong-Won in the face while trying to clear a high ball.

But Brazil got back into the game eventually, and Leandro Damiao really put a damper on South Korea's day when he collided with Lee while chasing a through ball, leaving the goalkeeper down injured for some time. Since that challenge, Lee's looked very dodgy, and Brazil took advantage of that when Romulo's first-time finish from an Oscar pass beat him at his near post.

So, 1-0 Brazil, but if South Korea can play like they did in the opening stages of the half, there's no reason they can't get back into this.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Romulo Gives Brazil 1-0 Lead

There's your first goal! Brazil are 1-0 ahead of South Korea in this Olympic semifinal. The play started with Neymar and Sandro applying heavy pressure at the midfield, and eventually the ball broke forward for Brazil. That left Oscar running at the Korean defence, with Neymar to his left and Leandro Damiao just ahead of him.

The banks of red shirts collapsed inwards, protecting Lee Bum-Young's goal from those three threats. But none of those were options were in Oscar's plans. Instead, the 20-year-old threaded an excellent ball to Romulo, who making a good run down the right, and the midfielder met the pass first time with a low shot just inside the near post.

It wasn't a very good shot, though, and Lee should have had it. The ball went under both his outstretched foot and his glove before nestling home to give Brazil the lead. That's some very poor goalkeeping. The Selecao won't care.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Brazil Under Heavy Pressure Early

Well, this match hasn't really started according to plan. Brazil are finding it impossible to retain possession, and South Korea are converting their dominance into genuine chances. The score remains at 0-0, but you could argue that the favourites should already have found themselves down by a couple of goals -- Gabriel's been taken completely out of the picture twice and Thiago Silva and Sandro have both been forced into goalline clearances.

The most dangerous moment of the game, as far as Brazil are concerned, came in the 15th minute, when Gabriel decided to make a thoroughly ill-conceived challenge for the ball, which popped up for Ji Dong-Wong. Juan got the ball partially away from the Sunderland striker by kicking him in the head (which isn't a foul no, apparently), and Thiago Silva managed to scramble the ball away. That was an incredibly close call, and I can't imagine that Brazil are very happy right now. They have to get the ball and hold it, or they're going to lose this match.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Lineups

We've already confirmed one participant in the gold medal game in the 2012 Olympics men's football tournament, so now it's time to get the other -- Brazil are playing South Korea in the second semifinal, and although the smart money is on Brazil to advance, this match shouldn't be seen as a foregone conclusion. There have been a number of matches in which the favourites looked thoroughly lethargic, and South Korea, who beat the hosts on penalties in the quarterfinals, will be encouraged by a relatively poor display against Honduras.

The big news for Brazil is the inclusion of Alex Sandro in the starting lineup over Hulk, who is on the bench alongside supposed Manchester United target Lucas Moura. It's a strange decision, but with Neymar, Oscar and Leandro Damiao around, it's not clear that Brazil are in dire need of Hulk's services.

South Korea starting lineup (4-5-1): Lee Bum-Young; Jae-Suk Oh, Young-Gwon Kim, Seok-Ho Hwang, Suk-Young Yun; Koo Ja-Cheol, Ki Sung-Yueng, Nam Tae-Hee, Kim Bo-Kyung, Dong-Won Ji; Kim Hyun-Sung.

Brazil starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Gabriel; Marcelo, Juan, Thiago Silva, Rafael; Sandro, Romelo; Neymar, Oscar, Alex Sandro; Leandro Damiao.

We'll have live coverage in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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Mexico Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: Final Score 3-1 In Favor Of El Tri, Who Make First Ever Final

Mexico are headed to the final of the men's soccer tournament at the London 2012 Olympics and will capture their first ever medal in soccer following a 3-1 defeat of Japan at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday. Japan got off to a terrific start with an early goal, but Mexico were in control for most of the match and fought their way back. Oribe Peralta's second half goal, the eventual winner, was a spectacular strike into the top corner from 20 yards out.

Japan had not conceded a goal in any of their previous four matches, including a match against Spain. They got off to a brilliant start with an early goal, scored by their leading scorer at the tournament, Yuki Atsu. He set himself up with a great first touch and turn, then unleashed a brilliant drive past Jose de Jesus Corona to put Japan up 1-0.

El Tri would equalize to take a 1-1 draw into halftime. The goal came on a bit of poor defending, with the not particularly tall Marco Fabian winning a header on a corner kick to tie up the match. Giovani dos Santos provided the delivery, with Jorge Enriquez flicking the ball backwards on the near post corner to set up Fabian.

At halftime, dos Santos was replaced by striker Raul Jimenez. There's no indication yet about whether or not dos Santos has an injury, but even if he was unable to continue, it was a tactical sub by Luis Fernando Tena. Instead of bringing in an attacking midfielder, Tena brought in a 6'3" forward.

Peralta's winner came in the 65th minute, off of a terrible error by Takahiro Ogihara. He gave the ball away to Peralta in his own half, and Mexico's No. 9 produced a fantastic finish with a drive into the top corner from just outside the box, giving El Tri a 2-1 lead.

Japan never looked much like scoring for the rest of the match and couldn't produce dangerous opportunities going forward. Javier Cortes came on as a late substitute and put the icing on the cake with the finish on the end of a great team goal in stoppage time, sealing his team's win in style.

You can find previous coverage of this game and live coverage of Brazil vs. South Korea in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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Mexico Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: Oribe Peralta Goal Makes It 2-1

Thanks to an absolutely stunning strike by Oribe Peralta, Mexico are 25 minutes away from securing their first ever trip to a final at the Olympics. They lead Japan 2-1 after 65 minutes after Peralta fired El Tri into the lead with a spectacular goal.

Takahiro Ogihara was the unfortunate provider of an assist to Peralta with a bad giveaway inside his own end. Following a saved shot on target by Mexico, Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda played the ball on the ground and it found its way to the feet of Ogihara. He was pressured by Peralta and gave the ball away, but even though possession was gifted to Mexico, a goal was not. Peralta had to hit a great shot to beat Gonda, and he did just that, placing a perfect shot into the top corner from 20 yards in similar fashion to Yuki Otsu in the first half.

We have live coverage of this game and Brazil vs. South Korea in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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Mexico Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: Giovani dos Santos Off For Raul Jimenez

Perhaps Mexico's corner kick goal convinced head coach Luis Fernando Tena that his team needed a bit more size. Giovani dos Santos, a midfielder who has been Mexico's most effective attacking player throughout the tournament, was withdrawn at halftime for Raul Jimenez. There's no indication that dos Santos had to leave the game because of an injury, though it wouldn't be surprising if news came out that he was hurt. Withdrawing him at the half for any other reason would be very odd.

Raul Jimenez, a big striker, is the man who has replaced him. At 6'3", he brings something different to the table, though that something different has never been 'goals'. He has just one goal in his previous appearances for Mexico Under-23, and he's only scored a couple of times for Club America. The move could make sense if Tena feels Japan is very susceptible to conceding on set pieces, but Mexico will probably have a harder time keeping the ball and creating set piece opportunities in the first place without dos Santos.

We have live coverage of this game and Brazil vs. South Korea in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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Mexico Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: Halftime Score, 1-1 With Goals By Fabian, Otsu

Mexico and Japan have played an excellent half of football at Wembley Stadium, and have looked as evenly matched as they were assumed to be before their London 2012 Olympics semifinal match. Yuki Otsu got Japan off to a brilliant start with a great goal, but Marco Fabian answered back to equalize and send the sides into halftime tied 1-1.

Otsu's goal was an absolute stunner, drilled into the top corner at the far post from just over 20 yards out. He set himself up with a brilliant first touch that pulled him into position to shoot, then unleashed a fierce drive past Jose de Jesus Corona into the back of the net to give Japan a 12th minute lead.

Fabian's equalizer came in the 31st minute, off of a corner kick. Giovani dos Santos swung in a brilliant delivery towards the near post, which Jorge Enriquez nodded backwards. Fabian got around his man and directed a header into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Mexico have had more of the ball and have arguably looked like the better side, but their finishing has not been great outside of Fabian's goal. Dos Santos, in particular, has looked dangerous but has missed the target with a couple of very solid half-chances.

We have live coverage of this game and Brazil vs. South Korea in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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Mexico Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: Lineups

Mexico and Japan look fairly evenly matched, and with the winner of their 2012 Olympic football semifinal guaranteed a medal (and a probable match against a star-studded, albeit erratic, Brazil side) expect a semifinal in the vein of yesterday's super match between Canada and the United States in the women's tournament. Japan already have a major scalp in this tournament, beating Spain in their opening game, and they looked very convincing against Egypt in the quarterfinals. Mexico struggled against Senegal, so the momentum is clearly with Japan. That said, there's so much quality in this El Tri side that it's not difficult at all to picture them progressing here.

Mexico starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Jesus Corona; Darvin Chavez, Diego Reyes, Hiram Mier, Isreal Jiminez; Carlos Salcido, Jorge Enriquez; Marco Fabian, Giovani dos Santos, Javier Aquino; Oribe Peralta.

Japan starting lineup (4-4-2): Shuichi Gonda; Yuhel Tokunaga, Hiroki Sakai, Daisuke Suzuki, Maya Yoshida; Takahiro Ohgihara, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Keigo Higashi, Hiroshi Kiyotake; Yuki Otsu, Kensuke Nagai.

We'll have live coverage in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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Brazil Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Maybe A Selecao Should Play A Complete Game

Brazil was a heavy favorite to win gold in men's soccer entering the London 2012 Olympics, even with accomplished and talented sides like Spain, Uruguay and Great Britain in the competition. Those teams are all gone, and Brazil's road to gold will new feature two teams that have never made an Olympic final before, and if Mexico defeats Japan, possibly two teams that have never captured any medal.

Brazil should defeat South Korea, even though South Korea is a solid team with a lot of accomplished professional players. It has the much more talented team and its side has been together all summer. Brazil hasn't looked spectacular for most of the tournament, however, and has made things very hard on itself in three of its four games.

Brazil allowed Egypt to mount a dramatic comeback before holding on for a 3-2 victory. It fell behind Belarus early and was outplayed for much of the first half of that game, before it turned it on in the second half. Against Honduras, it struggled even though its opponents went down to 10 men early, and eventually down to nine men.

South Korea's road to the semifinals has been similar in that it has been the better side in every one of its games, but that hasn't translated to dominating wins. It has drawn three of its four games, and its 2-1 win over Switzerland was hardly comfortable.

The Korean defense shouldn't be able to deal with Hulk, Neymar, Oscar and Leandro Damiao. They're certainly not going to pull off their second shutout of the game. But based on Brazil's play thus far, South Korea could limit Brazil to a goal or two with a combination of good defending and some good luck. Also based on Brazil's play thus far, South Korea's talented forwards could potentially score a couple of goals. Nothing about Brazil's defense has been convincing at the Olympics.

Expect Brazil to win, but expect goals from both sides as well, and don't expect a blowout.

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET from Old Trafford, and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Network in the United States.

We'll have live coverage in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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Mexico Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: El Tri Closing In On Another Tournament Success

Mexico is in their fourth major tournament semifinal, youth or senior team, in the last two years and has already put together their best ever performance at the Olympics. El Tri has won the Gold Cup and the Under-17 World Cup in the last year, while also finishing third in the Under-20 World Cup, and would like to add an Olympic gold medal to their list of recent accolades.

Standing between them and the final is Japan, who has also had arguably the best Olympic men's soccer tournament in their history, only comparable to their bronze medal effort in 1968, when they beat Mexico in Mexico City. The J-League has attained a level of play similar to that of North and South America's top leagues, and is now very comparable in quality to Mexico's Liga MX.

Both Japan and Mexico are filled with full-time professionals with extensive professional experience in their home countries, and that's proven valuable against teams of highly touted youngsters that aren't playing as often as the players in Japan and Mexico.

Mexico got off to a bit of a slow start in the Olympics, but they have improved significantly going forward since Giovani dos Santos was inserted into the starting lineup. He combines very well with Oribe Peralta, Mexico's center forward, and they should be tough for Japan to contain. Mexico also has a lot of attacking talent down the flanks with Javier Aquino and Marco Fabian, with Aquino having the better tournament of the two players so far.

Borussia Mönchengladbach's Yuki Otsu has been Japan's top performer in attack so far in the tournament, and he also scored for Japan against Mexico in their 2-1 victory just prior to the Olympics, in a warm-up game. He'll cut in quite a bit from the left flank and should cause problems for Mexican right back Israel Jimenez. Japan could also have an advantage in the center of midfield, where Cerezo Osaka teammates Takahiro Ogihara and Hotaru Yamaguchi hold down the middle. Mexico hasn't found their best pair in the center yet, and continue to use fullback Carlos Salcido as a makeshift midfielder.

Kickoff is at noon (ET) from Wembley Stadium, and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Network in the United States.

We'll have live coverage in our London 2012 Olympics, men's soccer semifinals StoryStream.

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