Patras swings to Samba beat
The Brazilian hotel in Patras is in the grip of a South American carnival atmosphere. With bongo drums and rattles, the women's national team have been beating out Samba rhythms and singing around the hotel pool. The South American women are in relaxed mood as they enjoy themselves in the Greek sunshine.
And while the Brazilians enjoy the warm weather, the sun appears to be shining on their Olympic footballing fortunes. Victory in their opening fixture against Australia has put coach Rene Simoes' team in a strong position going into their last group game against hosts Greece. With three points, Brazil are level with Australia. However, unlike the "Matildas", who face the strong Americans in their final group clash, Brazil meet bottom team Greece who have failed to make an impression so far, and lie rooted to the bottom of the group without a point after defeats to USA and Australia .
A draw would suffice to take Brazil into the quarter-finals, but anything other than a victory for the South Americans would be a huge upset. Brazil were more than unfortunate in losing to USA after looking the better team in the first half. Marta was in scintillating form while Rosana was a persistent threat going forward.
"I am very proud of my players. They were fantastic," the coach praised after the game. However, after deafeat by the Americans, Brazil now face a nervous wait ahead of their final game. "If you want to win the title, you have to be able to beat every opponent," said Simoes, who does not believe in easy and difficult opponents. Should they finish second in the group, Brazil are likely to meet Mexico, who look set to finish second in Group F behind Germany.
The defeat against America was particularly unpleasant for Brazilian youngster Kelly, whose first taste of Olympic action was cut short after just 12 minutes. The 19-year-old sustained a broken shoulder, bringing a premature end to her match and Olympic dream. Another 19-year-old, Dayane Rocha has been called into the squad as a replacement and flew out from Brazil on Monday evening.
For opponents Greece, the Olympic spirit is fading fast. The encounter will almost certainly be the hosts' last at these Olympic Games in front of their home crowd. With two defeats and no points, there is little realistic hope of reaching the quarter-finals for the Greek team who were visibly off the pace against America. "There are only a thousand or so players in Greece, which explains the difference in ability," Greek coach Xanthi Konstantinidou explained after their opening game.
Greece's women can now only finish in fourth place, while Australia and Brazil battle it out for second. If Brazil's women can take their enthusiasm for musical instruments onto the football pitch on Wednesday evening, they stand every chance of success.