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.