Tournament favourites Brazil remain firmly on course for what would be a maiden gold medal at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. Next up for A Seleção at London 2012 are semi-final opponents Korea Republic. It is only the second time in the history of the men’s tournament that a South American side will face an Asian team in the last four, following Paraguay’s 3-1 victory over Iraq in 2004.
Korea Republic-Brazil, Manchester, 19:45 (local time)
Over the course of the competition, the Brazilians have shown why they were considered favourites from the off. The team, with superstar Neymar as its focal point, won all three group games and also overcame Honduras in the quarter-finals despite going behind twice. The South Americans’ main strength is in attack and their tally of 12 goals so far is more than any other team at London 2012.
By contrast, the Koreans have been somewhat more pragmatic on their route into the last four. A win and two goalless draws in the group stage were enough to send the Asians into the last eight. There they drew once again with Great Britain before eventually going through on penalties.
The sides have faced each other once before at a Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. In 1964 they met in the group stage, with the South Americans prevailing 4-0 thanks to goals from Elizeu (2), Roberto and Ze Roberto.
11 - If Marcelo plays against Korea Republic, he will join Ademir as Brazil’s second most capped player at Olympic tournaments. Having featured in six games at Beijing 2008, it would be Marcelo’s 11th appearance overall. The current national record of 12 Olympic outings is held by Bebeto.
“We are very pleased to play against one of the top teams in the world in a big tournament like this. It will be very good for the players and their experience. We will study each individual in the Brazilian side to make sure that we're prepared. It would be a mistake to focus all of our attention on Neymar and we have to be organised and work as a team to play against them,” Hong Myung-Bo, Korea Republic coach.
“From the beginning the fact that Brazil had never won a gold medal at the Olympic Games’ men's football tournament is what has created the pressure. I expect the Korea team to play with intensity, a lot of movement and to play a very dynamic game for the whole 90 minutes. The game will have a lot more tension because it's a semi-final and there's a place in the final at stake,” Mano Menezes, Brazil coach.