Brazil Olympic Soccer: 5 Bold Predictions for the Quarterfinal Against Honduras
The real challenge for Brazil at this summer's Olympic games begins on Saturday with their knockout round tie against Honduras.
Brazil are the only team to have negotiated their way out of the group stage with a 100 percent record. The goals have been flying in, and each contest has, at times, transformed into an exhibition of the Selecao's talents.
Honduras arrive at the quarterfinal stage with two draws and one victory, which surprisingly came against Spain. They are capable of upsetting the bigger teams, although Spain have been a combination of unlucky and awful in the tournament.
But while this is the start of the real business end of the Olympics for the men's football, there are very few betting against a dominant and comfortable Brazil win.
Brazil Will Score More Than Three Goals
So far in the Olympics, Brazil have managed to score three goals in each of their three group games.
The pressure has largely been off, other than a few worrying moments in their opening match against Egypt, and many chances have been wasted.
However, going into the knockout round of the competition, Brazil will need to be much more aggressive in their approach. They've got the talent to run up a convincing and even embarrassing score line, and a determined opposition should see Mano Menezes' side with a far more lethal touch in front of goal.
Three goals and an array of exciting build-up play has been welcome from the Brazilians. But out of the group stages, they'll want to put matches to bed early.
Brazil’s Goalkeeper Will Concede
Neto was chosen as the first-choice goalkeeper for the tournament due to Rafael's injury concerns, and the Fiorentina player has started two of the three group games.
Although still young, Neto has displayed an uneasiness about his game, allowing the opposition into the match via avoidable goals.
As the back up, AC Milan's newest recruit Gabriel has joined the squad following the withdrawal of Rafael.
Gabriel was given the nod for Brazil's final group game against New Zealand, and despite not coming under serious threat throughout the game, he too can be shaky.
Brazil's defence is not as reliable as their attack, and their marauding full-backs leave exploitable gaps in their own half.
With young and inexperienced goalkeepers in the squad, Brazil are always likely to concede against decent opposition.
Neymar Will Bag a Hat Trick
So far in this tournament, Neymar has been the outstanding performer for his country. He was unlucky not to add to his goal tally against New Zealand, with nothing but imagination between him and an open goal, but the pressure was off, really.
He's shown what he's capable of, and his wizardry around the box has opened up a number of scoring opportunities for both he and his teammates.
In the knockout round of the Olympics, Neymar will again need to be in excellent form. And unless another team shows they are capable of shutting out the very best (bar Spain's opponents), Neymar is likely to be among the goals for Brazil.
Oscar will be the creator of all of Brazil’s goals
Oscar has been nothing short of fantastic throughout the Olympics so far. He's won an important role as the creator for this Brazil side over Ganso, and his flair and creativity has played a large part in Brazil's success.
Although only featuring for a 10-minute cameo against New Zealand, Oscar will start the quarterfinal game.
He's the natural outlet from midfield in front of two more defensive-minded players, and his link-up play with Neymar in particular was highlighted through the midfielder's late goal against Belarus.
Lucas Moura Will Start the Game for Brazil
This one really is a bold prediction.
Lucas Moura has so far been used sparingly, with his only start coming in the third group game against New Zealand.
His inexperience compared to those ahead of him is a factor working against his involvement from the start. But working in his favour was a very promising and exciting performance against New Zealand.
Lucas was unlucky not to get on the score sheet, but the ease at which he slipped into the starting XI would have been a great plus for the coach.
He's got the talent to start, but maybe his inexperience and tendency to run into dead ends will ensure Hulk gets the nod ahead of him.