Interestingly, the rumble for the Bronze medal in 1968 was between Japan and Mexico and now after 44 years they will be battling it out for a place in the finals. Furthermore, South Korea has a tenacious opponent in Brazil. The records and titles collected by Brazil in the football fora is unparalleled. However, they too will be jockeying for their first ever Olympics Gold. They can be rest assured that should Korea bite the dust then it will not be before putting up a decent fight.
From a neutral's panorama, the competition can now be seen between the emanate Asians and entrenched Americans, unlike the tradition of having atleast one European counterpart. However, as the tournament reaches its penultimate stage, Goal.com digs deep to understand the gameplay of both these continents.
|The Americans: Brazil and Mexico|
|The Olympic Gold has eluded the Brazilian so far
Brazil has until now scored three goals in each game. But their panache brand of football could have cost them atleast two games, including the quarters. It is a team that nourishes attacking football and believes in completely ravaging their opponent, making their defeat certain. However, every good thing comes for a price. Brazil suffered torments at the hands of Egypt and Honduras who managed to pull two goals back. Against their competition, Korea, they have to be very patient in finding the ball in the attacking third. The discipline of the Korean back four will be hard to break, something which can also trigger a dangerous counter-attack.
|Mexico are in the Olympics semi-final for the first time
Mexico, on the other hand, has great creativity in the midfield. On their day they can be lethal. The group stage was gloomy for the Central American side but they came of age in the quarters. Senegal was irresistible in the quarter-finals as the Mexicans threw away their lead twice and required some finesse to finally see off Senegal in extra-time. They stand against a tough opposition in Japan who were impressive against Egypt.
|The Asians: Japan and South Korea
|Japan already boast an Olympic Bronze medal
The conduct of the Japanese team cannot be questioned. They so far have scored 5 goals in the tournament but haven't conceded any. Even Spain couldn't break down the Japanese defense and it remains obvious what the winning formula is. Egypt put up quite a show in their game against Brazil but were outclassed by the Japanese in all departments. Not only did they play with flair but also remained the only team in the quarters to not see the ball at the back of their own net. They play with tremendous dedication and spirit and Mexico, on their part have to be very patient to make it an intriguing contest.
|South Korea beat Great Britain on Penalties
South Korea is also a hard team to get past. They played two goalless draws in their group stage and eventually took the Britons to a penalty shootout. Their goalkeeper has been fantastic throughout the tournament and needs to be at his very best against the South Americans. Their modus operandi is much like their neighbours; they are not known for their goal poaching record, but they remain known for not letting the opposition get by them this tournament.
All four teams have not lost a game yet. Brazil has scored more goals than any other, while Japan is yet to concede a goal. So what will sail through - the flair of the Americans or the discipline of Asians? You will have your answer tonight.
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