Olympic men’s football tournament reached its quarterfinal phase, with Brazil as the biggest favorite to win the gold medal.
Except Fiji, which finished competition in Group C with zero points and 1:23 goal difference, other national teams were very competitive, almost equal, in the group phase of Olympic tournament, although we didn’t see many attractive matches. Except for Argentina, which shocked their supporters by finishing third in Group D, all favorites qualified for the last eight.
In Group A Brazil topped the table, as expected. However, hosts started the tournament with two pale performances and goalless draws against outsiders Iraq and South Africa. They were in danger of elimination before the last match against Denmark, but they rose up to the expectations and finally recorded a convincing 4:0 victory. Young Santos starlet Gabriel Barbosa, who is linked with numerous European clubs this summer, scored two goals and led his team to victory. Neymar, first star of the tournament, still hasn’t break the deadlock, but home crowd expects he will be up to the task in the finish of the tournament. Despite a tough loss against Brazil, Denmark finished second in the group with four points, Iraq was third with three points and South Africa was fourth with two points.
In Group B Nigeria finished first, despite losing against Colombia in the last round, they secured the first place with two victories in the opening rounds. Nigeria defeated Japan by 5:4 in the most entertaining match so far in the tournament and survived a late scare; since they had a comfortable 5:2 lead. Nigeria finished first with six points, Colombia finished second with five points, Japan was third with four points and Sweden was fourth with one point.
In group C three teams had a shooting practice against Fiji and German attackers Meyer and Petersen were the most successful – in the German 10:0 victory Petersen scored five, while Meyer scored three goals. With Gnabry, who also scored five goals so far, we will probably have a German player on the top of scorers list in the end of the tournament. Although Germany scored 15 goals, the most on the tournament by far, they failed to top the group because they drew with South Korea and Mexico and they will have a tougher opponent in the quarterfinals. South Korea finished first with seven points, Germany was second with five points, Mexico was third with four points and Fiji was fourth with no points.
In Group D, Argentina shocked the world by playing only 1:1 in the last round against Honduras. They needed a victory to go through, but they failed to convert a penalty for the lead in the 55th minute and everything fell apart. In the end, Portugal finished first with seven points, Honduras finished second with four points, Argentina finished third with four points, while Algeria finished fourth with one point.
In quarterfinals Brazil will face Colombia, Nigeria will play against Denmark, Germany will play against Portugal and South Korea will play against Honduras. Brazil is still the biggest favorite to win the gold medal, but they will have to raise their performance level against Colombia, which is a very solid and attack minded team. Nigeria, as the team which always performs well on Olympics, is the favorite against Denmark, while the match between Honduras and South Korea will probably be very rigid and both teams will defend, since they know this is a huge opportunity for them to qualify for the semifinal phase. The match between Germany and Portugal is the real derby of the phase, with Germans being the slight favorites.