Brazil vs. Honduras Olympic Soccer Quarterfinal: Grades, Reaction and Analysis
Brazil were not used to trailing at all when they came into the men's quarterfinal match against Honduras.
That quickly changed, as Honduras were the first to score against Brazil. This set the tone for the run of play. While Brazil were able to set in a goal to tie the score going into the half, the damage had been done.
Playing a man down following Wilmer Crisanto's ejection after a second yellow card in the 33rd minute, Honduras opened up the second half with an immediate goal, catching Brazil off-guard. Yet only three minutes later, Brazil answered back with a PK score by Neymar.
Brazil did not secure their first lead until the 60-minute mark, with Leandro Damiao's second goal of the match. To that point, Damiao had two goals and an assist.
While some writers may have wondered if Brazil were the greatest Olympics soccer team ever after their last match against New Zealand, it's become increasingly clear that this team is indeed stoppable.
After winning 3-2, Brazil will go on to face the winner of Great Britain and South Korea on Aug. 7. Their weaknesses have been exposed, though, and Mexico may be considered the new favorite in this tournament.
Tweets of the Day
Bleacher Report writer Michael Dulka was the first to catch my attention on Twitter earlier this morning with his comment on Neymar’s "chill" penalty kick.
Neymar's so chill man. Pressure isn't a thing to that dude.— Michael Dulka (@jrdulka) Aug. 4, 2012
Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl offered a mood incredibly reflective of the crowd when Brazil were down in the second half.
HONDURAS GOAL--Kansas City's Roger Espinoza puts 10-man Honduras up 2-1 on Brazil with a left-footed blast. Unbelievable.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) Aug. 4, 2012
Upon the two goals within three minutes to open the second half, FourFourTom expressed his emotions.
Wait, what!? I go to put some food in the oven, come back and it's 2-2!?— FourFourTom (@FourFourTom) Aug. 4, 2012
FourTomTom continued to be a hoot after Lenadro Damiao continued his domination in the second half.
3-2 Brazil. Two goals and an assist for Leandro Damiao. God, I love being right.— FourFourTom (@FourFourTom) Aug. 4, 2012
Erik Gunderson tweeted his admiration and heartbreak over the Honduran loss against Brazil.
Honduras with such a good fight. Damn.— Erik Gundersen (@Erik_Gundersen) August 4, 2012
Jerrad Peters sent his kudos to Honduras for a well-fought match.
Honduran football is experiencing a very competitive cycle. We saw it in the last quadrennial; we're seeing it in this.— Jerrad Peters (@peterssoccer) August 4, 2012
Grades for Key Brazil Players
Leandro Damiao: A+
Brazil dominated possession this game (57 percent), and a lot of that run-of-play control came from the stellar performance by Damiao.
While Honduras were a man down for 60 minutes, Damiao was able to step in and capitalize. He delivered two goals and one assist to make this game a winning effort for Brazil.
Even though Neymar looked a little off in this game, his penalty kick was the difference-maker.
My biggest issue: his flopping efforts. I believe Neymar deserved a yellow card for how often that happened.
It's hard to criticize Neymar. While this wasn't his best effort, he was able to stay poised and confident when it counted most, and he gave Brazil the go-ahead score in a time that many people globally doubted the talents of Brazil.
This takes much bravery, and for that I applaud Neymar.
Where was Oscar during this match?
It seems as if every great team has one of those days where it simply doesn't show up, yet come away with the victory regardless. In fact, Team USA basketball had that kind of match against Lithuania earlier this morning.
But for Brazilian soccer, which some consider to be the best soccer team to ever compete in the Olympics, they need more effort from Oscar. He went for $38 million in his last professional contract and showed that he was worth very little of that in today’s effort.
Honduras managed only four shots on goal through the entire game, yet they scored on two of them. As the goalkeeper, Gabriel looked like he was having trouble securing the ball and had very little confidence throughout the course of action.
Honduras were unable to capitalize on his mistakes, and goalkeeping is Brazil's obvious weakness coming into the semifinals.
Grades for Key Honduras Players
Roger Espinoza: A+
Espinoza was ejected from the game in the 89th minute and earned a standing ovation from the entire Newcastle crowd. I think there's nothing more to be said about the performance than that.
His teammate, Cristano, was ejected early in the game following two yellow cards that forced Honduras to go down to only 10 men. Espinoza was ejected following that, earning two more yellow cards, but he was a difference-maker in this game.
Have to give credit where credit is due. Martinez was the first to shock Brazil and score in this match. While he wasn't heard from much after this, the first goal was enough to earn him a spot on this list.
Do you think Brazil will win gold this year?
The officiating was the main difference-maker in this game. Honduras came in as heavy underdogs, but they took an early lead that they might have been able to hold on to if they didn't have to play down a man for the last 60 minutes.
Honduras earned five yellow cards throughout the entire match, and often it seemed as if the decisions were slightly underwhelming (and under-deserving) calls.
Man of the Match
This is a simple answer: Leandro Damiao.
Damiao was absolutely phenomenal to watch in this game, as he was a difference-maker who helped Brazil stay in this tournament even in one of their shakiest matches to date.
Brazil will take on the winner of Great Britain vs. South Korea in the men's semifinals on Aug. 7. Honduras were eliminated after a stellar effort against a team that proved to be too good.
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