Olympic Soccer 2012: Semifinals Schedule, Previews and Predictions
The semifinals for the men's Olympic football tournament are quickly approaching with a spot in the gold medal match on the line. A victory guarantees a medal in the tournament, either gold or silver. The losers will have a chance at a medal in the bronze medal game.
Mexico vs. Japan: August 7th, 12:00 p.m ET
Mexico beat Senegal 4-2 in extra time to advance to the semifinals. After blowing a 2-0 lead, Mexico had to fight back against a pesky Senegal side that wouldn't quit.
Tottenham striker Giovani Dos Santos has led the Mexican side, adding a threat in attack. He has scored three goals for the tournament and capitalized to score the eventual winner against Senegal in the semifinals.
Japan advanced after dominating Egypt 3-0. Japan scored in the 14th minute and secured their place in the semifinals by scoring two goals down the stretch, in the 78th and 83rd minute.
Kensuke Nagai has been the dangerous man for Japan, scoring two goals but creating havoc for the oppositions' back line. Yuki Otsu also has scored two goals for Japan during the tournament.
Mexico's attack has gotten better as the tournament progresses. They will need to continue to improve and play well against a very strong Japan defense that has yet to concede a goal in the tournament.
Japan will look to get on the board early in order to throw more players in defense and hit Mexico with the counter-attack. Mexico needs to avoid conceding early, keep possession and attack at selected times.
Prediction: Mexico 2-1 Japan
Brazil vs. South Korea: August 7th, 2:45 p.m. ET
Brazil dominated competition in the group stage of the tournament, but played very poorly in a 3-2 victory over Honduras. Twice, Honduras took a goal advantage on Brazil, despite playing 60 minutes with 10 men and the final two minutes with nine men, but Brazil did just enough to advance.
The Brazil team features a number of talented players that have contributed to reaching the semifinals. Neymar, Oscar, Marcelo and Leandro Damiao have all shone at times throughout the tournament.
South Korea advanced to the semifinals after beating host nation Great Britain in a penalty shootout, finishing the 120 minutes tied at a goal apiece.
South Korea has only scored three goals in the tournament while conceding two. They were called for two penalties against Great Britain, with Aaron Ramsey of Team GB making one and missing the other. The team plays a very controlled match, but the lack of goal scoring ability is definitely a worry.
Brazil is the heavy favorite to not only beat South Korea, but go on to win the gold medal. They are heavy in goal scoring ability, having scored three goals in each of the four matches. South Korea should get some opportunities around goal as Brazil has conceded five goals, but whether they take advantage of those scoring chances will determine the outcome of the match.
Prediction: Brazil 4-1 South Korea
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