Olympic Soccer Live Stream 2012: When and Where to Watch Opening Men's Matches
One of the most intriguing competitions of the 2012 Olympics kicks off on Thursday as the men's football tournament gets underway. Every team will be in action throughout the day which should make for a fast-paced start to the Games.
Most of the usual suspects are among the top contenders to take home gold. Brazil and Spain are battling for the distinction as favorite. La Roja is coming off a European Championship, albeit with a completely different squad than fans will see starting on Thursday.
Let's take a look at all the key information for the first day of competition and break down some of the players who will have an impact on the outcomes.
When: Thursday, July 26
Where: Old Trafford (Group A), St James' Park (Group B), City of Coventry Stadium and Millennium Stadium (Group C) and Hampden Park (Group D)
Watch: NBC Family of Networks
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra
Honduras vs. Morocco at 7 a.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Mexico vs. South Korea at 9:30 a.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Spain vs. Japan at 9:45 a.m. ET (MSNBC)
United Arab Emirates vs. Uruguay at 12 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Gabon vs. Switzerland at 12:15 p.m. ET (MSNBC)
Belarus vs. New Zealand at 2:45 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Brazil vs. Egypt at 2:45 p.m. ET (MSNBC)
Great Britain vs. Senegal at 3 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Players to Watch
Daniel Sturridge (Great Britain)
Daniel Sturridge survived a brief health scare a couple weeks ago and should be prepared to make his presence felt when the host country takes on Senegal. Losing him would have been a major blow to manager Stuart Pearce's offense.
The 22-year-old striker is coming off the most successful season of his professional career. He tallied 13 goals and seven assists—both career highs—as a key piece of the Chelsea attack. And that only scratched the surface of his potential.
It will be interesting to see how he handles the spotlight of the Olympics. If Great Britain has any hope of going all the way, he'll need to be an unstoppable force. As long he's feeling 100 percent, he definitely has the ability to make it happen.
Which player will have the best opener?
One of the main reasons Brazil is a popular pick to win gold is the dynamic duo of Neymar and Hulk up front. Both players are capable of taking over the game at any moment and will be nearly impossible for opposing back lines to stop.
Neymar is only 20, but he has already scored 110 goals in 186 games for the Brazilian club Santos. That type of production at such a young age has caused him to become one of the most talked about players in the world, and rightfully so.
Brazil opens play against Egypt. It's a match they should win, but the first game is always tough as teams attempt to round into form. It will be up to Neymar to make sure the team gets off to a quick start, even if he has to do it himself.
Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico)
Giovani Dos Santos leads a Mexican squad that enters the tournament as a potential sleeper. They aren't being picked by many to win a medal, but the squad has enough talent to make a run, especially since Mexico is in a very winnable group.
If El Tri does capitalize on their underdog status, it will be due to a great Olympic performance from Dos Santos. The Tottenham star has made 59 appearances for the national team during his career and has scored 14 goals—more than anyone else on the roster.
While Mexico should be strong at the back, they lack depth up front. That means Dos Santos will have to carry the load on his shoulders in terms of generating scoring chances. It's a challenge which should motivate him.
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