Olympics 2012 Schedule: Top Events to Watch on Day 11

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Olympics 2012 Schedule: Top Events to Watch on Day 11
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Monday’s thrilling action is a tough act to follow, but plenty of Olympic events scheduled for Tuesday will captivate viewers.

After Team USA’s last-second victory over Canada to advance to the women’s soccer gold-medal game, the remaining men will need to step up their game to match Monday's excitement.

The electrifying team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh can further cement their Olympic legacy by proceeding to another beach volleyball championship match. This year, they’re not the only pairing to don red, white and blue in the semifinals.

And the U.S. women’s basketball team can add to Canada’s misfortune while outshining the U.S. men. 

Don’t even dare try to work with plenty of Olympic goodness ready to be absorbed on this fine Tuesday.

 

Men’s Soccer Semifinals (Mexico vs. Japan at 12 p.m. ET on NBC Sports and South Korea vs. Brazil at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports)

Three of the usual suspects round out the men’s soccer semifinals, but one team is approaching a monumental upset.

There’s nothing surprising about Brazil, Japan and Mexico carving out bids to reach the championship round, but South Korea has turned some heads as the tournament’s underdog.

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After topping Great Britain on penalty kicks, South Korea advances to face Brazil in the next round. Despite only scoring three goals in four matches, South Korea is only one win away from earning its country's first medal in Olympic soccer.

Brazil does not suffer from the same lack of offense. They have notched three goals in each of their four matches, and Leandro Damiao has outscored the entire South Korea squad with four goals. Goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong must deliver an inspired performance to avoid ending South Korea’s unlikely journey for gold.

Another intriguing matchup will unfold between Mexico and Japan. Behind Brazil, Mexico ranks second with seven goals during the London Games. Japan, however, has shut out every opponent through four games. While they have yet to face an offense that matches Mexico’s tenacity, goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda could confound their attack and create a low-scoring affair.

 

Women’s Beach Volleyball Semifinals (5 p.m. ET, airing on tape delay during NBC’s prime-time coverage)

At least one U.S. team is guaranteed a spot on the podium in women’s beach volleyball.

Two of the four remaining teams fighting for gold represent the U.S., and they might have to go through each other to win.

May-Treanor and Walsh look to maintain their stranglehold on the event by winning their third consecutive gold medal. After obliterating Italy’s Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti—a team considered a medal contender—Team USA’s dynamic duo will face Xue Chen and Zhang Xi during the semifinals.

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The Chinese team of Xue and Zhang earned bronze in the 2008 Games and are now fighting for a better finish. They went under the radar to steal a medal four years ago, but chances are they will be playing for bronze again after running into May-Treanor and Walsh.

In the other matchup, April Ross and Jen Kessy could solidify a possible all-USA final by upsetting the No. 1 seed Larissa  and Juliana. The Brazilian team has won more international tournaments—including a recent victory in the 2011 World Championships—than any other pairing in the sport’s history. 

 

Women’s Volleyball: USA vs. Dominican Republic (2 p.m. ET on NBC)

Don’t think we forgot about the women playing volleyball on hardwood.

Team USA squares off against the Dominican Republic in quarterfinal play. Based on the results so far, the U.S. is not likely to leave London after Tuesday’s elimination game.

According to NBC’s official Olympic site, Team USA leads the field with a 33.67 efficiency rating fueled by a team-low 66 faults. They powered past Group B opposition, easily winning all five matches.

After jumping to an impressive start with wins over Algeria and Great Britain, the Dominican Republic tumbled last week. They lost three consecutive matches but managed to hold a spot beyond group play.

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Expect Destinee Hooker—one of the Games’ top scorers with 87 spikes—to lead Team USA to an unproblematic victory over an overmatched opponent. Just don’t assume the U.S. will breeze through the rest of the bracket.

Team USA should advance to the semifinals, where the winner of the Italy-South Korea matchup awaits. Italy displays a formidable squad capable of challenging the U.S. while Russia looms from a distance.

 

Women’s Basketball: USA vs. Canada (9 a.m. ET on NBC Sports)

Team USA’s male squad soaks up all the attention, but the U.S. also sports a potent women’s team demolishing their competition in their quest for gold.

Winning their first five games with a 36.6-point average margin of victory, Team USA breezed past Group A to reach the quarterfinals. Awaiting them on Tuesday is Canada, who squeaked into single-elimination play despite winning only two of their five games.

Geno Auriemma’s club leads the field in points per game (92.4), field-goal percentage (49 percent), assists (23.6) and rebounds (53.4). Unlike the men, Team USA does not rely on the three-pointer to embarrass their competition. Despite only netting 23 of 78 attempts from long range, the U.S. imposes their will on the rest of the world by shooting 55 percent from inside the arc.

The U.S. features the perfect mix of talent to sustain their excellence. Point guard Sue Bird—their 31-year-old captain—serves as the ideal floor general for a star-studded cast. Diana Taurasi can take over as a scorer while Maya Moore can dominate in the paint. 

This game could get ugly. 

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