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Central Americans run to come to an end against the Selecao

Brazil head into their Olympics quarter-final match with Honduras as heavy favourites having eased their way through the group stage, scoring nine goals in the process.

The Selecao scored three goals in each match, with Santos star Neymar (pictured)at his thrilling best throughout the tournament and Mano Menezes' side are now the clear favourites to take the gold medal.

A 3-2 win over Egypt was followed by a 3-1 win over Belarus and a 3-0 win over New Zealand, as Brazil look to claim an Olympic gold medal which has thus far proved elusive since they made their Olympic debut back in 1952.

Honduras have proved the real surprise package of the tournament so far, emerging in second place from their group having finished behind Japan, but in front of both Morocco and a heavily-fancied Spain.

Coach Luis Suarez has varied his tactics throughout the tournament thus far, utilising both a 4-4-2 and a 4-5-1 formation, with the constant being New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson who has three goals to his name so far.

Team decisions

Menezes is likely to recall goalkeeper Neto, who was rested for the final group match, as was new Chelsea midfielder Oscar who should return to his position as the sides central playmaker.

Alex Sandro picked up two yellow cards in the victory over New Zealand and is therefore suspended for the match at St James' Park.

Menezes' key decision is likely to be who will lead the line upfront - the Internacional target man Leandro Damiao, or Milan's quicksilver forward Alexandre Pato.

For Honduras, Suarez is likely to revisit the formation and strategy which beat Spain 1-0 in their second group match.

Therefore, Bengtson is likely to start alone up front, with the likes of DC United midfielder Andy Najar and Luis Garrido looking to link-up in support.

Likely line-ups

Brazil (4-2-1-3): Neto, Rafael, Thiago Silva, Juan Jesus, Marcelo, Sandro, Romulo, Oscar, Hulk, Damiao, Neymar

Honduras (4-5-1): Mendoza, Leveron, Velasquez, Crisanto, Figueroa, Najar, Espinoza, Martinez, Peralta, Garrido, Bengtson

Key Men

Neymar

The Santos wonderkid has been electrifying on his European debut, with his blend of scintillating skill and stealthy movement giving Brazil a razor-like cutting edge.

His link-up play with both Marcelo and Oscar has at times bordered on the ridiculous - most noticably for the sublime third goal against Belarus - as he has taken the responsibility of this being 'his' team on his shoulders and played with great responsibility.

Menezes will hope that the 21-year-old can continue to lead by example, and can pick apart what has thus far proved a stubborn Honduran defence.

Roger Espinoza

The hard-working Sporting Kansas City midfielder will need to put in the shift of his life if he's to stifle a free-flowing Brazilian side as he looks to help his side pull off a major shock.

Espinoza will have to work his socks off pressuring Oscar and must keep an eye on both Sandro and Romulo, but when he does get posession himself, he'll need to showcase his own eye for a pass, not to mention his cultured left-foot, if the Hondurans are to cause Brazil problems of their own.

Prediction

Brazil 3-0 Honduras

Honduras have done remarkably well to reach the quarter-final stage of an international tournament for the third time in four years - having twice reached the same stage in the Concacaf Gold Cup.

Unfortunately, having somewhat rode their luck against Spain, a Brazil side in red hot form, averaging three goals a game, may just be a bridge too far for Suarez side to navigate.

By Alex Richards – Follow me on Twitter @AA_Richards

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