Brazil - Honduras Preview: La Bicolor Olimpica look to upset the odds once again
Mano Menezes' men are favourites for Saturday's clash with the Central Americans, who will be looking to pull off another upset after beating Spain in the group stages
By Nicholas McGee
Rafael, Thiago Silva, Juan Jesus, Marcelo
Romulo, Sandro, Oscar
Neymar, Hulk, Pato
Velasquez, Leveron, Crisanto, Figueroa
Garrido, Martinez, Meija, Najar, Peralta
Neither side have new injury concerns heading into the game. Neto is expected to return in goal for Brazil after being rested for the final group game victory over New Zealand.
Honduras head coach Luis Suarez is expected to drop striker Anthony Lozano in favour of a five-man midfield with Arnold Peralta coming in, with Luis Garrido, who can also play up front, dropping back.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Brazil have never won an Olympic football tournament. They finished as runners up in 1984 and 1988 as well as third in 1996 and 2008. Honduras have never reached the last four at an Olympic Games.
- Brazil's last triumph at a major tournament was back in 2007, when they won the Copa America in Venezuela.
- The Brazilians have not competed at an Olympic football tournament in Europe since the 1972 Games in Munich, where they were eliminated in the first round.
- Brazil made their Olympic football debut back in 1952 at the Helsinki games, they beat Netherlands and Luxembourg before losing to West Germany at the quarter-final stage.
- Only five of Brazil's squad play their club football in their home nation. Defender Bruno Uvini and Manchester United target Lucas Moura both ply their trade with Sao Paulo, while Neymar and Ganso are team-mates at Santos. Striker Leandro Daimao is currently under contract with Internacional.
- Despite their lowly stature as a footballing nation, Honduras have enjoyed success at international tournaments. They have made the semi-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup twice in the last four years.
- Honduras striker Jerry Bengtson (pictured right) is currently second in the tournament goalscoring charts, Brazilian duo Neymar and Leandro Daimao are close behind with two each.
- Honduras' first appearance at an Olympic football tournament was in 2000 at the Sydney-based Games. They were knocked out in the group stages despite an entertaining 3-3 draw with Nigeria and a 2-1 win over the hosts.
- Honduras' boss Luis Fernando Suarez was manager of the Ecuador national team when they were knocked out of the 2006 World Cup by England.
- In the five times that Brazil and Honduras have played each other, the latter have only won once. That win came in the 2001 Copa America as they eliminated the Selecao with a 2-0 win in the quarter-finals on their way to a third-place finish.
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Top 3 Predictions
Brazil Under 23 3-1 Honduras Under 23
- 20.56 %
Brazil Under 23 3-0 Honduras Under 23
- 19.63 %
Brazil Under 23 2-0 Honduras Under 23
- 11.85 %
|Olympic Games (OLY)||4 Aug 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - Honduras Under 23 2|
|Brazil Under 23|
|11 Aug 2012||Brazil Under 23 1 - Mexico U-23 2||OLY|
|7 Aug 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - South Korea Under 23 0||OLY|
|4 Aug 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - Honduras Under 23 2||OLY|
|1 Aug 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - New Zealand Under 23 0||OLY|
|29 Jul 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - Belarus U-23 1||OLY|
He may have been overshadowed by his striking counterparts Leandro Daimao and Neymar so far in this competition, but Hulk is most definitely the one to watch for Brazil ahead of Saturday's contest at St James' Park.
Strong, pacy and clinical in front of goal, Hulk has the potential to carry Brazil to the final almost entirely on his own. If he finds form on Saturday, then expectations of a Brazilian gold medal will only continue to rise.
This one is simple really, without the goals of Jerry Bengtson, Honduras would already be on the plane home thinking about what might have been. Instead, they go into what for many of their players will be the biggest game of their careers on Saturday.
The 25-year-old has stunned observers by propelling himself to second in the Olympic goal-scoring charts, and while Brazil are heavy favourites, they could find themselves on the end of an almighty shock if they fail to respect the undeniable talent of Bengtson.