Men's Olympic Soccer Draw 2012: Breaking Down the Group of Death

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentApril 24, 2012

Men's Olympic Soccer Draw 2012: Breaking Down the Group of Death

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    The 2012 Olympic football draw for the group stages of the men's competition in London has seen Group D emerge as the closest thing to the "Group of Death": Spain, Japan, Honduras and Morocco. 

    In Group A, Great Britain's only road block is Uruguay. Senegal and the United Arab Emirates will be making up the numbers. 

    In Group B, Mexico, who won the FIFA U-17 World Cup and placed third in the U-20 World Cup, have moderate competition (Korea Republic, Gabon, Switzerland). 

    Brazil, with its vast array of stars, were drawn in the Group of Life, also known as Group C (Egypt, Belarus, New Zealand). 

    So Group D appears to be the "Group of Death." The following slides include a detailed breakdown of the group's teams and predictions of how they will fare.

    Additionally, here is Bleacher Report's overall analysis of the Olympic tournament on the heels of today’s draw. Which players will stand out? Here’s a look at 50 players – men and women – to watch once the competition kicks off.

    If you're interested in the rest of the groups, here's where you can find previews of Group A, Group B and Group C.

4. Honduras

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    Best U-23 Player: Andy Najar (D.C. United)

    He is a strong dribbler and has the advantage of playing two full professional seasons at just 19 years of age. 

    Keep an eye out for Eddie Hernández, who was the top scorer for Honduras during the qualifying rounds.

    X-Factor: Anthony Lozano (Alcoyano)

    He has struggled since having his rights bought by Valencia. He has only scored twice in the Segunda División whilst on loan for Alcoyano. 

    He'll look to emulate David Suazo, who scored four goals during the 2000 Olympics

    Tournament forecast: Won't qualify out of the group. 

3. Morocco

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    Best U-23 Player: Younès Belhanda (Montpellier)

    His ball control and flair remind me of Tarik Sektioui. 

    Abdel Barrada is another player to watch out for. He's looked decent for Getafe but needs to assert himself more. 


    X-Factor: Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez (Anzhi Makhachkala)

    Thankfully, his career wasn't cut short when he was horrifically assaulted by Chris Mavinga. 

    Carcela-Gonzalez is nippy, skillful and will send in an incisive cross. 

    What about Adel Taarabt? This is a guy who has quit on Morocco before, so I doubt Pim Verbeek, who values high-character players, will play him. 


    Tournament forecast: Won't qualify out of the group. 

2. Japan

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    Best U-23 Player: Hiroshi Kiyotake (Cerezo Osaka)

    He is technically brilliant and an incisive dribbler with great vision. Hopefully Cerezo Osaka will accumulate a more substantial transfer fee than the comical €350,000 from Borussia Dortmund for Shinji Kagawa. 

    Ryo Miyaichi and Takashi Usami should also make Takashi Sekizuka's squad. 


    X-Factor: Hiroki Sakai (Kashiwa Reysol)

    The road-running right-back will provide so much energy down the right flank.


    Tournament forecast: Should qualify out of the group.

1. Spain

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    Best U-23 Player: Isco (Málaga)

    He'll be a world-class player in the coming seasons, but right now, his performances have gone under the radar because most casual La Liga followers only watch Real Madrid and Barcelona. 

    So the likes of Cristian Tello, Isaac Cuenca and Raphaël Varane are noticed, but not Isco. 

    I'm also a big fan of Ander Herrera of Athletic Bilbao, whose playmaking ability is high class. 


    X-Factor: César Azpilicueta (Marseille)

    His ball-winning ability will be invaluable as he's won back possession 194 times in 35 games this season.


    Tournament Forecast: Should Qualify Out of Group and Beyond

    Brazil have the better individual talents (Neymar, Ganso, Leandro Damião, Lucas Moura and goodness knows which over-aged players Mano Menezes will call up), but I believe Spain will win gold. 


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