Olympic Soccer Schedule 2012: 5 Matchups That Will Determine Group Winners

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IJuly 25, 2012

Olympic Soccer Schedule 2012: 5 Matchups That Will Determine Group Winners

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    The 2012 Olympic soccer tournament features several big name teams from around the world, including Great Britain, Spain, Mexico and Brazil.

    These teams also boast several star players, which ensures that this Olympic tournament will be better than the ones in years past.

    There will also be plenty of underdogs and several unproven players wanting to unseat the top teams of the tournament.

    Let’s take a look at five matchups that will help determine which teams advance as group winners.

Great Britain vs. Uruguay: Aug. 1

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    With no Wayne Rooney in this tournament, Great Britain will rely heavily on Ryan Giggs to make things happen.

    The Brits will need to make a lot happen offensively if they hope to keep up with Uruguay’s torrid pace.

    The Uruguayans feature Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani at forward, so they should score plenty.

    Jack Butland is going to have his hands full at goalkeeper for Great Britain in this game.

Great Britain vs. Senegal: July 26

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    Great Britain can’t afford to slack off in its Olympic opener against Senegal. If they do, they could find themselves in a hole early, something that would be devastating to their title hopes.

    They can’t afford to leave the opening game with anything less than three points.

    Keeping Ibrahima Balde off the score sheet will be a key to a Great Britain victory.

Brazil vs. Egypt: July 26

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    With a star-studded defensive unit that features Thiago Silva and Marcelo, Mohamed Aboutrika and the Egyptian team will find it hard to score goals against Brazil.

    Add in the fact that Brazil has the super-talented Neymar leading the attack, and Egypt doesn’t appear to have any chance at victory.

    If Aboutrika is rusty after his brief retirement earlier this year, Egypt will lose this game.

    If he’s at 100 percent, though, the Egyptians at least have a slim chance at an upset.

Mexico vs. Switzerland: Aug. 1

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    Giovani Dos Santos is one of the best 23-year-old soccer players in the world.

    Having him on the pitch makes Mexico a threat to score at any time.

    Veteran Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio will have to have an excellent game on Aug. 1 if the Swiss are going to have even the slightest chance of pulling off this major upset and wreaking some havoc in Group B.

Spain vs. Japan: July 26

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    Spain isn’t going to dismiss the Olympics just because it won the Euro 2012 championship.

    Goalkeeper David de Gea has a lot to prove in London after a tough year for Manchester United, and defender Jordi Alba will try to show he’s worthy of his recent transfer to Barcelona.

    Yuki Otsu and the Japanese midfield are going to have to cut off some of Spain’s picture-perfect passes and hold possession if they are going to have a chance at a massive upset in Group D.