Olympics: Brazil, Honduras, Mexico advance in men’s soccer
By Dialogo August 02, 2012
LONDON – The men’s soccer teams from Brazil, Honduras and Mexico are each three wins away from winning gold at the Games of the XXX Olympiad. But Uruguay saw its golden dreams come to a demoralizing end in group play on Aug. 1.
Brazil received goals from Danilo in the 23rd minute, Leandro Damião in the 29th and Sandro in the 52nd to complete its undefeated, three-game run through Group C with a 3-0 win over New Zealand. Brazil has never won gold at the Olympics – the only major international tournament it has yet to win.
Mexican forward Oribe Peralta Morones’ goal in the 69th minute was the difference in his team’s 1-0 win over Switzerland that secured a spot in the quarterfinals by winning two games and tying another in Group B play.
After opening pool play with a scoreless tie against South Korea, the Mexicans defeated Gabon, 2-0, before beating the Swiss. The victory was especially gratifying for Mexico, which has never won Olympic gold in the sport and has traditionally struggled in the Olympics.
In its nine previous appearances – Amsterdam in 1928, London 1948, Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Montreal 1976, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 – the team has advanced out of pool play three times, reaching the semifinals in 1968 and the quarterfinals in 1972 and 1996.
Honduran goalie José Mendoza led a superb defensive effort against Japan in a Group D game that ended in a scoreless tie and sent both teams to the quarterfinals.
Honduras, which tied Morocco and Japan and defeated Spain in pool play, didn’t medal in its previous Olympics in 2000 and 2008.
Uruguay, however, was eliminated from the competition with a 1-0 loss to Great Britain, which received a goal by Daniel Sturridge in the 45th minute to advance to the quarterfinals. Uruguay finished group play with a win over the United Arab Emirates and losses to Senegal and Great Britain.
Honduras and Brazil will meet in one quarterfinal on Aug. 4, with Mexico facing Senegal, Japan taking on Egypt and Great Britain playing South Korea.
The winners advance to the semifinals on Aug. 7.