Japan and Chile to join Olympic favourites
Japan and Chile will almost certainly join Italy as quarter-finalists in the men's Olympic Football Tournaments with convincing wins on Sunday evening - while in the women's tournament, everything remains open after the US were held by China and Norway disposed of Nigeria.
Urged on by thousands of their own fans in Canberra's Bruce Stadium, Japan's talented squad - based largely upon that which finished second in last year's FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria -- recorded their second win in two games as they beat Slovakia 2-1 and reasserted their claims to Olympic medals. For Slovakia, defeat meant elimination.
Chile, meanwhile, outshone their South American counterparts from Brazil as they dismissed Spain 3-1 in a high-class encounter before another big crowd in Melbourne, securing a passage to the knock-out phase while the classy Spaniards will need to beat Morocco on Wednesday to join them.
Brazil themselves suffered a severe setback with a shock defeat before a record crowd in Brisbane's Gabba cricket stadium. Level 1-1 at half-time, the ambitious Brazilians conceded two goals in the second half and a place in the last eight is far from certain as they face Japan in their last group match on Wednesday.
Korea kept their hopes alive by beating Morocco 2-1 in Adelaide, but this second defeat in two matches marked the end of the North Africans' Olympic campaign.
When the first round groups were drawn in Sydney last June, Group F of the women's tournament was immediately labelled the toughest of all - and so it has proved, as Norway recovered from their opening match defeat by the US to beat Nigeria 3-1 in Canberra and retain contact with the group leaders.
The confrontation in Melbourne between last year's Women's World Cup finalists ended in a 1-1 draw, the Americans seeing a second-half penalty saved by China's Gao Hong as both teams battled to make sure of a place in the semi-finals. Now the US are left to face Nigeria while China and Norway clash in the last day of group matches on Wednesday.