Olympic Soccer: Why Fans Should Root for a Brazil vs. Spain Final

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 24, 2012

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - JULY 20:  Neymar of Brazil celebrates scoring a penalty during the international friendly match between Team GB and Brazil at Riverside Stadium on July 20, 2012 in Middlesbrough, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

With the 2012 Olympic soccer tournament beginning on Thursday, it is never too early to speculate about the dream matchups that could happen in the knockout phase.

While it would be nice to see Great Britain make the final on home soil and even win the tournament, the one matchup that would have fans tuning in around the world would be Brazil vs. Spain.

Not only would this be a match containing the two biggest names in international soccer right now, it could be a preview of a possible final at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Both countries have rosters that represent the highest class of young talent in their respective talent-rich nations and the players on the two rosters could easily be playing in Brazil in two years.

Spain are on top of the soccer world right now after winning Euro 2012, their third straight major tournament title in six years, and are back at the Olympics after a 12-year hiatus.

Brazil are flying under the radar at the senior level right now, but have many things to talk about when it comes to their Olympic squad.

Spain features the breakout star of Euro 2012, defender Jordi Alba, and have players like Cristian Tello, Oriol Romeu, Isco, Iker Muniain and Javi Martinez, who the world is just beginning to learn about.

These players mentioned above are a part of Spain's newest generation of highly talented players, and they will be the men asked to continue the legacy of La Furia Roja once stars like Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Iker Casillas move on.

Six members of the Spanish Olympic squad have already succeeded on the international level by winning the U-21 European Championship last summer in Denmark.

As for Brazil, it will be the first time that fans around the world get to see young stars like Oscar, Ganso, Lucas Moura and Leandro Damiao—all four still play domestically in Brazil.

Then, of course, there is the star of the squad, Neymar.

We all know the hype surrounding the 20-year-old phenom, who currently plays for Santos in Brazil, but now it is time for the forward to back up the hype with a strong performance across Great Britain for the next two weeks.

The star-studded lineup that Brazil will put out during the Olympics will most likely be the core of the World Cup team that will play on home soil in two years.

Players like Lucio, Maicon, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho are all nearing the end of their careers, and Brazilians need new heroes in the sport they love.

So, why would this matchup of two soccer powerhouses be the best Olympic final?

The answer is clear: They are the two best teams and the head-to-head matchups on the pitch would be dream ones.

Imagine seeing Jordi Alba having to defend against Hulk or Neymar on the wing.

Imagine seeing the young Spanish forwards trying to break the defensive wall that will be created by Thiago Silva and Marcelo for Brazil.

Imagine seeing the best talent that the soccer world has to offer for the next decade on the pitch at once.

All three of those things are possible if Spain and Brazil take care of business in their respective groups.

With Brazil in Group C and Spain in Group D, they would be on opposing ends of the bracket in the knockout round, setting up a dream final.

This dream final is far from a sure thing, but if it happens, make sure you are around a television set on August 11th to watch the gold medal game at Wembley—it just may be a preview of the next few World Cup finals.