Brazil vs. South Korea: 6 Things We Learned from the Men's Olympic Semifinal
It may not have had the drama of the previous night, but nearly 70,000 people crammed into Old Trafford to witness Brazil tackle South Korea in the Olympic Semifinal.
The overwhelming pre-tournament favourites triumphed comfortably in the end 3-0, but it was their Asian opponents who started the brighter and at times threatened an upset.
Brazil's squad is littered with talent—Lucas Moura and Ganso didn't even feature—and they will now move on to face Mexico with a chance to scoop their first Gold in this tournament.
Many lines can be taken from this encounter though, so let's move along and take a peek at some of them.
Brazil's Defence Doesn't Look Solid
Over the years we have seen many great Brazilian sides, but one common factor has been their overwhelming strength in attack.
In recent times, however, they have begun to tighten up at the back.
This has, at times, been disregarded at this years Olympics.
It was evident in the first game where they were 3-0 up against Egypt and conceded twice to get home 3-2, then continued against South Korea.
Mexico can take heart from the chances that fell the way of South Korea, which leads us on to the next point.
If South Korea's Finishing Was Better, We Could Have Seen a Different Outcome
It was the much unfancied South Koreans who started the better of the two sides in Manchester, and they could, and perhaps should, have led.
The reason they didn't was partly due to circumstances beyond their control, while other reasons were due to poor finishing or simply not shooting when given chances.
Kim Hyun-sung was unlucky to see his header cleared by Sandro before Ji Dong-Won found space but took far too time on the bar when given a chance on goal, and the defence recovered.
If Mexico can shoot when given their chances, and can do so accurately, Brazil's long wait could continue.
Referee Changed the Game
Throughout the first half of this encounter, it seemed like the official was being a touch overzealous when awarding set pieces.
So it was surprising when a penalty wasn't awarded in the second half when Brazil's lead was a slender 1-0.
Kim Bo-kyung was felled in the area by Sandro, but play was waved to the puzzlement of many of those in attendance.
If that decision did go South Korea's way, we could be sitting here talking about another great upset.
Neymar Is Destined for Greatness
You really don't need me to tell you this; many of you, if not all, will have been aware of this for quite some time.
Every time he was in possession of the ball, there was an air around Old Trafford that something special could happen at any time; such is the reputation of the man.
And he certainly didn't disappoint, embarking on many mazy runs and having a hand in the second and third goals.
Leandro Damiao Will One Day Be a European Success
Another whose stock continues to rise is Leandro Damiao, who is sending his price tag soaring with a series of impressive displays this summer.
His brace against South Korea may not have been a contender for goal of the tournament, but he did highlight one quality of any good striker: being in the right place at the right time.
Many have made a career off this alone, but add to the mix his strength and pure ability to lead the line, he is also the tournament's current top scorer with six.
It hard to see why he won't make a success of a European move if, and more likely when, it happens.
Tottenham are one team that have been heavily linked in the past, with those rumours not subsiding.
Brazil Will Win the Final
Simply put, their strength is scary.
The talent contained with its rank would perform admirably in a World Cup tournament.
Against South Korea, Alexandre Pato and Hulk came off the bench whilst Lucas Moura and Ganso were unused.
Yes their defence may at times look lax, but going forward, they are supremely blessed and will have too much for Mexico to handle.
The desire to end the wait for the top Olympic honour is immense, and that will be achieved at Wembley Stadium later this week.