After a thrilling and high-scoring evening at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament 2008, Argentina and Nigeria have advanced to Saturday’s showdown for the gold medal in Beijing. Argentina triumphed 3-0 in the all-South American semi-final clash with Brazil, while Nigeria defeated Belgium 4-1 in Shanghai in the other last-four tie.
The triumphant duo thus set up the second gold medal rematch in the history of the Olympic tournament, Nigeria claiming victory when the nations contested the 1996 final in Atlanta. The first repeat contest saw Great Britain take on Denmark in 1912 following the two countries' summit clash in 1908.
FIFA.com turns the spotlight on today’s semi-final matches.
Nigeria 4-1 Belgium (in Shanghai)
Nigeria advanced to the final in Beijing with an impressive 4-1 victory over Belgium, the second time the Africans have reached the gold medal decider at the Olympic Football Tournament. The team popularly known back home as Dream Team IV will now strive to emulate the gold medal-winning heroes of 1996. Olubayo Adefemi opened the scoring on 17 minutes, before Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi netted a brace on 59 and 72 minutes to put his side firmly in the driving seat. Chibuzor Okonkwo wrapped up the victory on 78 minutes, Laurent Ciman grabbing a consolation for the Belgians two minutes from time.
Argentina 3-0 Brazil (in Beijing)
Argentina strode to a clear-cut 3-0 triumph over their arch-rivals in a match brimming with quality and flair. The Argentine hero in Beijing was two-goal sharpshooter Sergio Aguero, Juan Riquelme adding the third from the penalty spot. Brazil’s misery was completed by late red cards for Thiago Neves and Lucas. The result means the reigning Olympic champions make the final for the second time and have every chance of retaining the gold medal, the one major honour Brazil have yet to win. However, the Brazilian women’s team, all of whom were at the stadium to cheer on their male counterparts, could still collect the gold medal when they meet the USA in Thursday’s final.
The players: Sergio Aguero (ARG) & Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi (NGA)
The evening featured two outstanding goalscorers each with a double strike to his name, Nigeria hitman Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi and Argentina star Sergio Aguero. Both men had a huge hand in sending their respective sides through to the final in Beijing. Obasi’s second rates as one of the best goals of the Olympic Football Tournament, a fulminating drive from the edge of the box to make the score 3-0. Aguero’s two goals, both the result of swift and precise passing moves, were barely less pleasing on the eye.
444 – the number of minutes played at the tournament during which Brazil failed to concede a goal. Keeper Renan kept clean sheets in the first four matches, but the ruthless Argentinians put an end to that series in convincing fashion. The last time Brazil lost 3-0 to Argentina was a friendly in Sao Paulo back in 1964.
What they said
"In all honesty, I basically wanted to take him off before he scored his second goal. He worked very hard for the team and I wanted to give him a rest before the final. Thankfully I left him on, and he scored a wonderful goal." Nigeria coach Samson Siasia on Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi
All the results
Nigeria 4-1 Belgium
Argentina 3-0 Brazil