Olympics Group C Preview

Teams: Brazil, Egypt, Belarus, New Zealand

26 July 2012 – Belarus v New Zealand – Kick Off 19.45
Venue – City of Coventry Stadium

26 July 2012 – Brazil v Egypt – Kick Off 19.45
Venue: Millenium Stadium

29 July 2012- Brazil v Belarus – Kick Off 12.00
Venue: Old Trafford

29 July 2012 – Egypt v New Zealand – Kick Off 14.45
Venue – Old Trafford

1 August 2012 – Brazil v New Zealand – Kick Off 14.30

Venue – St James’ Park

1 August 2012 Egypt v Belarus – Kick Off 14.30
Venue: Hampden Park

 

Brazil : Brazil comes into this match having qualified by winning the South American Youth Championship and is desperate to win this tournament, as it’s the only major competition the Brazilian Men’s team has never won. Their best finish has been winning back-to-back Silver medals in 1984 and 1988; the fact that their hated rivals Argentina have won two Gold medals is like salt in the wound. However with Argentina failing to qualify for the Olympic Games this is their best chance to get the job done, this tournament can also act as a springboard for the 2014 World Cup that they are hosting and it will be their only meaningful preparation games. 

Team Profile : Brazil was always famous for their Samba style of football. The squad picked for the olympics is bound to continue this tradition. The key players for this team are forward Neymar and defender Thiago Silva; this is a really important tournament for Neymar on a world stage and will be a great opportunity for him to go down in history if the team could win the Gold medal. 

Neymar will be strongly backed by Hulk and Pato in the attack and they will be a formidable strike force.

In midfield it will be Oscar pulling all the strings. He can keep the ball when needed, win the ball in the middle and initiate counter attacks and also provide lovely through balls. He will be supported by the young brilliance of Ganso.

 The manager very smartly selected 2 of the 3 over aged players as defenders. Thiago Silva,one of the best center backs currently in the world will be their backbone of the defense supported by Rafael and Marcello at the full back position.

Prediction : Firm favorites to win the Gold medal.

 

Egypt : The Egyptian side comes into this match having qualified for their first Olympic Games since 1992; the team’s best finish was as 4 th place finishers in the 1964 Olympic Games. The majority of this team is based within Egypt on the two major sides Al Ahly or Zamalek.

Squad Profile : One of the three over-aged players in the squad, Aboutrika announced his retirement from soccer after the violent clashes that killed 74 people in Port Said at the beginning of the year. But he reversed his decision and will be one of the star names on show in Great Britain.He will also be the captain and emotional leader of the Pharaohs.

Captain Mohamed Aboutrika

Another key name is Ahmed Hegazy. The 21 year-old centre-back has African Cup of Nations experience and cost Italian club Fiorentina more than £1m when he signed from Ismaily last year. 

Prediction : Almost always they are the best team representing Africa in any tournament. So the whole continent will look at them to make it to the next round.

Belarus : Belarus qualified for this tournament at UEFA playoff winners, defeating Czech Republic in the third place game of the 2011 UEFA U21 European Championships by a 1-0 score line. This is the first Olympic Games the team has qualified for as an independent nation, as prior to this they were part of the former Soviet Union. 

Squad Profile : The majority of these players play their trade domestically within Belarus; some of these players have had good European experience playing in either the UEFA Champions League or Europa League. Coach Georgi Kondratiev will look to forward Andrey Varankow, as he is their main threat in front of goal.

His strike partner,Sergio Kornilenko is the fourth-leading goal scorer in Belarusian history, Kornilenko will be the primary offensive weapon for the underdog Europeans.

Sergei Kornilenko

Prediction : Belarus’ road to London has been nothing short of miraculous, first stunning highly favored Italy in a two-legged playoff just to qualify for the 2011 UEFA Under-21 Championships, which served as Europe’s Olympic qualifying tournament, then somehow managing to sneak into the Games as the third-place finisher despite losing three of their five matches in the tournament and being outscored 8-5. On paper, Belarus shouldn’t go far in this tournament, but in a relatively weak group beyond Brazil, another surprise is certainly within their reach.

New Zeland : New Zealand qualified for the Olympics by defeating Fiji in the OFC Olympic qualifying tournament, qualifying for their second consecutive Olympic Games and will be looking to better their Group Stage exit in 2008. The majority of the squad plays domestically in New Zealand, England or Australia; it will be interesting to see how the experience of the 2010 World Cup will translate to this tournament.

Squad Peofile :  What the Kiwis lack in offensive talent, they make up for in their captain and standout central defender, Nelsen, who has been among the upper echelon of defenders in the English Premier League for the better part of the past decade after cutting his professional soccer teeth with Major League Soccer club D.C. United.

Ryan Nelsen of Q.P.R

 Their keeper Jake Gleeson has had trials with Manchester United and Everton, the goalkeeper has plenty of ability and is currently one of the best in the MLS with Portland Timbers.

Prediction : New Zealand has arguably the most experienced international roster in the Olympics, with 13 players who have already suited up for the All Whites’ senior national team, five of whom played in the 2010 World Cup, where the Kiwis surprised observers by going unbeaten in group play. In a group where the second quarterfinal berth is anyone’s to grab, that big stage experience could give New Zealand an edge.

Written by RSK

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