Champions. That is the first word that comes to mind when one sees the Brazilian Olympics team play football. Exceptional skill, amazing ball control and strikers with potential of becoming the best players in the world, one only expects that this team will be the one who will win the gold medal.
Brazil have so far scored an impressive 12 goals – good for an average of three per game – and have just an average of a goal against per game. Oscar is currently Brazil’s best player with one goal and four assists, while Leandro Damiao is top scorer with four goals.
Brazil will surprisingly meet South Korea in the semi-finals following the South Koreans’ upset win against Great Britain on penalties. I used to believe that this Brazilian team was immortal but they showed several signs of vulnerability in yesterday’s 3-2 win over Honduras, even though the Seleccao never looked like they were going to lose. The scary thing about this Brazil squad is the fact that while Brazil’s starting 11 is possibly the best of the whole tournament, even their substitutes’ bench is filled with several exceptional talents. such as Lucas Moura, Leandro Damaio and Ganso.
One individual who should be highlighted is Neymar. Possibly one of the most talked-about talents in football, Neymar has unfairly been branded as “over-rated” due to him not playing for a team in one of the major European leagues. Neymar’s performances these last few matches should hopefully quiet down some of the critics as he has managed to score three goals and assist three times during the Olympics so far. So is Neymar still extremely over-rated? Obviously not, and the young striker will hopefully continue to impress as he seems destined to be Brazil’s, and possibly the Olympic football tournament’s, most valuable player.
Neymar has all the qualities a good striker needs – he can shoot, pass and dribble past anyone and anything. Perhaps the only aspect of his game that needs to improve is his heading capability, which would slowly increase once he makes his inevitable move to one of the bigger European leagues as it is a skill required of successful strikers in Europe.
So can one believe that South Korea and possibly Mexico or Japan in the final actually stands a chance against this dominant Brazilian side?
Frankly speaking, none of the remaining teams should have a chance of beating Brazil as most teams don’t have the same amount of talented players nor players that compete in top divisions (the only fair opponent Brazil had in that regard were Team GB). However, as the cliché goes, “anything can happen in football”… but this journalist can stick his neck out and say NO. Brazil is meant to win and with the football they have been producing in this tournament Brazil deserve to be gold medallists.
The most exciting part of this Brazilian team is the fact that they are all youngsters and the future of Brazilian football which shows that their own skills will only keep growing and most of these players will likely be in the senior Brazil side once the FIFA World Cup is hosted in Brazil in 2014.
Spain may be the outstanding team of recent major tournaments, but perhaps with an Olympic title Brazil can kick-start their own era of dominance?
Back to the London 2012 Olympics
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