London 2012 Olympic Schedule: Intriguing Matchups from Soccer's Group Play

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London 2012 Olympic Schedule: Intriguing Matchups from Soccer's Group Play
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This year's Euro tournament provided plenty of excitement and provides an excellent segue into Olympic soccer competition. 

Soccer fans are ready for the action to begin in London. European squads want to continue their momentum from their recent tournament, and non-European sides want a piece of the action. 

Just like other major soccer tournaments, the Olympics begins with group play. Let's take a look at the most intriguing matchups London has to offer, and when they are set to happen.

 

*For a full schedule, click here.

*All times are ET

 

Thursday, July 26

First Round Group D: Honduras v. Morocco, 7 a.m.

First Round Group B: Mexico v. South Korea, 9:30 a.m.

First Round Group D: Spain v. Japan, 9:45 a.m.

First Round Group A: United Arab Emirates v. Uruguay, 12 p.m.

First Round Group B: Gabon v. Switzerland, 12:15 p.m.

First Round Group C: Brazil v. Egypt, 2:45 p.m.

First Round Group C: Belarus v. New Zealand, 2:45 p.m.

First Round Group A: Great Britain v. Senegal, 3:00 p.m.

 

Sunday, July 29

First Round Group C: Egypt v. New Zealand, 7 a.m.

First Round Group B: Mexico v. Gabon, 9:30 a.m.

First Round Group C: Brazil v. Belarus, 10 a.m.

First Round Group D: Japan v. Morocco, 12 p.m.

First Round Group A: Senegal v. Uruguay, 12 p.m.

First Round Group B: South Korea v. Switzerland, 12:15 p.m.

First Round Group D: Spain v. Honduras, 2:45 p.m.

First Round Group A: Great Britain v. United Arab Emirates, 2:45 p.m.

 

Wednesday, August 1

First Round Group C: Egypt v. Belarus, 9:30 a.m.

First Round Group C: Brazil v. New Zealand, 9:30 a.m.

First Round Group D: Spain v. Morocco, 12 p.m.

First Round Group D: Japan v. Honduras, 12 p.m.

First Round Group B: South Korea v. Gabon, 12 p.m.

First Round Group B: Mexico v. Switzerland, 12 p.m.

First Round Group A: Great Britain v. Uruguay, 2:45 p.m.

First Round Group A: Senegal v. United Arab Emirates, 2:45 p.m.

 

Now let's take a look at three tilts to watch through the action's first three days.

 

Spain vs. Japan

Spain is the best international squad in the world. Many of the regular faces found on their depth chart are missing, but their cupboard is far from bare.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

They're a sound defensive group with attacking talent to boot. Watch out for Isco in the midfield, and Christian Tello at the top of the attack. Both are extremely talented, despite being unproven.

Japan can't stand up to Spain in terms of pure talent, but they are never easy to get rid of. The Japanese team will have to choose their spots wisely, but they could hang in there with soccer's current best.

This matchup is intriguing because Spain is that much of an attraction right now.

 

Great Britain vs. Senegal

The host country's opening game is one they should win, but it will create intrigue on its own. Throngs of faithful fans will be in attendance as the British side looks to start things on the right foot.

Senegal can score the ball, but they won't have the long-standing success necessary to win this match. Great Britain is well coached and features talent at all three levels. 

Julian Finney/Getty Images

This is worth watching for the same reason people watch the opening ceremonies. Everyone wants to see how the host country will support their teams. These athletes participate to represent their country, and it certainly helps them to hear cheers in their favor.

Let's see how London supports their esteemed soccer side.

 

Brazil vs. Egypt

Egypt hasn't participated in Olympic play since 1988, so they will be eager to play. Brazil is always one of the world's toughest sides to eliminate, and their current roster doesn't disappointment.

Their depth chart lacks many of their household names, but players like Hulk still remain. He will spearhead an attack that should strike fear into any defense.

Egypt's absence from Olympic action makes them a very definite underdog in this contest. They have nothing to lose, and that can be dangerous to the decisive favorite.

I don't expect Brazil to lose, but Egypt will hang around longer than expected. If nothing else, Brazil's elite skill level is always worth watching.

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