Italy and Germany through, Aussies go out with a bang
Italy's star-studded troupe was the only men's team to emerge from Saturday's games of the Olympic Football Tournaments with a 100 percent record intact and a place booked in the quarter-finals - along with the German women, who also registered a second win in two outings.
Italy put paid to Honduras in Adelaide, 3-1, but the main attention was focussed on the Sydney Football Stadium where the home team faced off against the Olympic champions from Nigeria. The hopes of the 39,000 fans soared as the Aussies wiped out a 0-2 deficit by half-time but then they fell victim to another defensive error to quit the tournament with colours flying.
Their female counterparts fared a little better, drawing 1-1 with Sweden, leaving both teams with a hope of a quarter-final place - an ambition also shared by Brazil, who lost 1-2 to Germany in Canberra.
Nigeria's win makes them favourites to accompany Italy into the next phase. Meanwhile in Group C, the United States had the better of the game against Cameroon but still needed a second half penalty to secure their second draw, while Kuwait notched a remarkable 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in Brisbane, coming back from an early deficit to keep their qualification hopes alive. Cameroon have four points, Kuwait three, the US two and the Czechs one, in a group where anything remains possible.
But the main story belongs to the Olyroos, the Australian men who played two outstandingly brave and committed matches only to finish up with nothing but broken Olympic dreams….