Wednesday’s final group games in the men’s tournament at the Olympics were mostly anticlimactic, with several 0-0 draws and the only real drama contained to Group A.
Senegal were favored to dispatch the United Arab Emirates, so Great Britain’s game against Uruguay was big.
Uruguay needed a win to move on, while Great Britain needed only a draw. Unfortunately for Uruguay, Great Britain took the lead in first-half stoppage time, courtesy of a Daniel Sturridge strike.
With Senegal trailing against UAE, however, there was the slim chance that Great Britain would let down in the second half – a Senegal loss would ensure Great Britain’s advance on goal difference – and Uruguay could snatch a couple goals. The chances came for Uruguay, but it was not to be, as Senegal equalized and Uruguay could not get the goals needed: Great Britain 1-0 Uruguay; Senegal 1-1 UAE.
- Brazil 3-0 New Zealand – Brazil continues to look the best team in the tournament, and by a comfortable margin.
- Egypt 3-1 Belarus – The Egyptians finish the group stages strongly.
- Japan 0-0 Honduras – A point ensures top spot in the group for the Japanese, and Honduras advances, as well.
- Spain 0-0 Morocco – Both teams go out, and Spain fails to score at the tournament.
- Mexico 1-0 Switzerland – Mexico fails to build on its momentum, but more good play from Giovani dos Santos gets the win and top spot in the group.
- South Korea 0-0 Gabon – A point was all the Koreans needed to advance, and they got it.
Looking ahead to the quarterfinals
The quarterfinal round will be played on Saturday, August 4th.
Japan v. Egypt (7:00am, MSNBC and Live Extra) – This should be tight, as the Japanese looked comfortable advancing out of what turned out to be the easiest group, while Egypt only finished with a record of 1-1-1, but their loss came against Brazil. Japan did not lose a game, but only scored two goals, while Egypt scored six and let in five. Will Egyptian offense overwhelm Japanese defense, or will the Japanese control the game and stifle the Egyptian attack?
Mexico v. Senegal (9:30am, MSNBC and Live Extra) – Mexico has been mercurial so far, and Senegal has been something of a surprise. Mexico will be favored, but Senegal look able to score on most teams, with Moussa Konate the tournament’s leading scorer (four goals). If Mexico can put it together, they should go through, but this could go either way.
Brazil v. Honduras (12:00pm, MSNBC and Live Extra) – Brazil seems the clear favorite to win it all, at this point, so Honduras look to have a difficult task ahead of them.
Great Britain v. South Korea (2:30pm, MSNBC and Live Extra) – Great Britain has looked good, and has scored five goals to Korea’s two, and with each game, the tournament host’s hopes get bigger. The atmosphere for this one will be electric.