THE DAY REPLAYED – This was a time when the underdogs had their day at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. With the likes of Uruguay, Switzerland and Spain all saying goodbye to the tournament, Senegal, Korea Republic, Egypt and Honduras were all celebrating having clinched spots in the quarter-finals.
En route to their first appearance in the second stage since 1984, Egypt ended an 84-year duck by defeating European opposition in their victory over Belarus. The game saw Mohamed Salah scoring in all three group matches, a feat equalled by Senegal’s Moussa Konate in their 1-1 draw with United Arab Emirates.
While Spain failed to find the target, Japan and Mexico made it through to the last eight without conceding. Honduras also ensured that both CONCACAF representatives made it through in their first-ever qualification beyond a group stage of a FIFA tournament.
In contrast, Great Britain, who have only been under the guidance of Stuart Pearce for a matter of weeks, became the only European team to advance to the quarter-finals.
Goal of the day
Senegal-United Arab Emirates, Matar (21’)
Despite their bottom-placed finish in Group A, UAE can be proud of their performances at this tournament and their goal against Senegal was truly a moment of magic. Rashed Eisa was the Africans’ tormentor-in-chief by initially pulling his marker out of position, then deceiving another defender with a cheeky glance. He then slipped the ball through to Ismaeil Matar, who coolly clipped it over Ousmane Mane from close range.
A glance of the team-sheet fpr the match between Egypt and Belarus showed that ten players from each side played in their respective countries' domestic leagues. Only Belarus’s Sergei Kornilenko, who plays in Russia, and Egypt’s Switzerland-based star Mohamed Salah were the exceptions. The fact the game took place at Hampden evoked memories of another famous Glasgow institution, Celtic’s Lisbon Lions, who won the European Cup in 1967. Ten players in that particular starting line-up hailed from the Glasgow area, with the 11th a 'foreigner' due to living 30 miles from Celtic Park.
Neymar shows human side
Footballers, like all of us, make mistakes. And even the best ones get things wrong sometimes. Brazil’s Neymar did just that at St. James’ Park today. With his side leading 3-0 and Rafael playing a delightful ball from the right hand side which drew the New Zealand defence and goalkeeper towards him, the Santos star was presented with an open goal. With the crowd getting their cameras at the ready, the 20-year-old blazed the ball well over the bar in a contender for Miss of the Tournament.
Great Britain won their first gold medals of the Olympic Games today in rowing and cycling. The first place for Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins in the time trial was announced over the public address system of the Millennium Stadium shortly before kick-off of the Mexico-Switzerland match, which brought a great roar from the crowd and spontaneous chants of ‘GB! GB!’
Stat of the day
276 – With three or more scored in the opening two matches of the day, fans expected goals in the four simultaneous 17.00 kick-offs. However, they had to wait until the 69th minute of the match between Mexico and Switzerland for the deadlock to be broken – a total of 272 minutes across the four games.
“I always say to the players that they need to make sure they show a good image when they abroad, when they are playing and while at the hotel. They have to have respect for themselves and everyone else. We even tell them to make sure they keep their bedrooms clean," Hany Ramzy, Egypt coach.
Saturday 4 August (all times given are local)