Men's quarter-final round-up: And then there were four
The men’s football tournament isn’t the most prestigious event at the London 2012 Olympics but try telling that to the footballers involved in the last eight.
It brought joy to four sides and pain for another four teams. Here is a round-up of the main action.
Paying the penalty
Unfortunately, the semi-finals will not involve the host country.
Team GB were eliminated in a typical English style for knockout football, via a penalty shootout.
Daniel Sturridge was the victim, as his penalty was the only one to not be converted.
In normal time in Cardiff, Team GB drew 1-1 with South Korea. They fell behind to Ji-Dong Won’s effort in the 28th minute, which went straight through Jack Butland.
Stuart Pearce’s side won two penalties in the space of four first half minutes, with one converted by Welshman Aaron Ramsey and one was tamely saved.
Ultimately, Team GB showed a lack of passion and got what they deserved. South Korea worked hard throughout and they are worthy semi-finalists in this competition.
Brazil remain on course
South Korea will meet the favourites Brazil in the semi-finals at Old Trafford.
The Brazilians remain on course for the gold medal but they had an almighty scare against a gritty Honduras side, edging them out 3-2 at the Sports Direct Arena.
Mario Martinez gave the Central Americans the lead in the 12th minute but they were down to ten men before half-time, when Wilmer Crisanto collected two cheap yellow cards in a matter of moments.
Leandro Damiao poked in the equaliser for Brazil but Honduras didn’t give up and Roger Espinoza restored their lead within a minute of the restart.
A foul on Damiao gave the South Americans an instant chance to respond from 12 yards and Neymar made no mistake.
Damiao scored his second after 58 minutes and it turned out to be the deciding goal. The plucky Hondurans ended with nine men, as Espinoza was also sent off in stoppage time.
Mexico overcame the tough challenge of Senegal to win an enthralling quarter-final at Wembley, 4-2 after extra-time.
Jorge Enriquez headed Mexico infront after nine minutes and the game looked good as over, when Javier Aquino doubled their advantage on the hour mark.
However, the Africans refused to be beaten and gave themselves a chance, when Moussa Konate’s header made it 2-1, his fifth goal of this tournament.
Then, a brilliant header from Ibrahima Balde levelled the scores and sent the match into extra time.
In the extra period, horrible defending from Papa Gueye allowed Giovani dos Santos in, to establish the lead again for the Mexicans, before more dismal play at the back in the second half of extra time, allowed Hector Herrera in to seal victory for Mexico.
They are a danger, hitting form at just the right time.
Japan hit top form
Japan hit top form in Manchester, demolishing Egypt 3-0 to reach the last four, where they will play Mexico.
They started very quickly and had the lead in the 13th minute, when Kensuke Nagai capitalised on some awful African defending to open the scoring.
Egypt’s task was made even harder, when Saad Samir was sent off for a professional foul, five minutes before half-time.
Captain Maya Yoshida put the game beyond doubt, heading in unmarked from a free-kick with 12 minutes remaining.
Yuki Otsu dispatched a clinical header to make it 3-0 and seal a comfortable win for the Japanese.
Japan 3-0 Egypt – Old Trafford
Mexico 4-2 Senegal (AET) – Wembley
Brazil 3-2 Honduras – Sports Direct Arena
Team GB 1-1 South Korea (AET) – Millennium Stadium (South Korea won 5-4 on penalties)
By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88
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