Brazil vs. Japan Women's Olympic Soccer: Most Exciting Players to Watch

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IAugust 3, 2012

CARDIFF, WALES - JULY 25:  Marta of Brazil looks on during the Women's Football first round Group E Match of the London 2012 Olympic Games between Cameroon and Brazil at Millennium Stadium on July 25, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Brazil vs. Japan will be a story of polar opposite soccer clubs.

On Friday, the two teams will face off in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Summer Olympics tournament. There, the Brazilian explosive offense will match up against the Japanese stingy defense.

Here are the three footballers who will ultimately decide the outcome of the contest.

Christiane

Christiane is an elite goal-scoring talent at forward for Brazil. She scored two goals in group-stage action, and it’d be no shocker if she fires one in to the net in this one.

Some of the most memorable moments of Christiane’s career have come in Olympic play. In Athens, she was the top goal scorer of the tournament. She’s also recorded a hat trick in the Olympics twice.

Christiane likely won't score three goals on Japan, but just one would do wonders against the Japanese’s poor offense.

Miho Fukumoto/Ayumi Kaihori

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Japan’s defense is insane. And when I say insane, I mean it makes opposing forwards go insane.

The Japanese have surrendered just one goal the entire tournament. Of course, they’ve only scored two themselves. That’s why their pair of goaltenders, Fukumoto and Kaihori, is so important to their success.

Fukumoto started versus Canada and allowed one goal in a 2-1 victory. She also started versus Sweden and recorded a shutout in a draw. Kaihori then received the start against South Africa and also helped shut them out…in a draw.

Whoever stars for Japan on Friday will have their hands full against a Brazilian team that scored six goals in the group stage.

Marta

Marta is one of the greatest women’s football players to ever live. She’s the Brazilian captain, and if you had to bet on one woman to score a go-ahead goal in a meaningful match, it’d be her.

She led Brazil to the final of the last two Olympic tournaments. I doubt she plans on exiting in the quarterfinals this time around.

All eyes will be on the all-world striker throughout the contest. She’s already scored twice in London. Don’t be surprised if a third is in her near future.

David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.