Monday, June 18, 2012

London 2012 Olympic Soccer/Football Preview

The London 2012 Olympics begin on July 27th (Soccer starts July 25th) with Paul McCartney playing at the finale of the Opening Ceremony. That's one way to compete with Beijing and their scary army of drummers. I'm probably most excited for the Football/Soccer tournaments, particularly the women's tournament. The men's tournament has a restriction where only three players can only be over the age of 23. Women's teams use their full senior national teams, so it will be all the favorites seen in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, like Hope Solo, Homare Sawa, Marta and Abby Wambach. The main difference is there will be "Great Britain" teams as opposed to England, and David Beckham may be playing for the men's squad as one of the three veterans. Onto some predictions for the women's tournament.

Group E - 1. Great Britain, 2. Brazil, 3. New Zealand, 4. Cameroon - Great Britain and Brazil are the clear favorites in this group, but New Zealand could be a dark-horse. Cameroon is too inexperienced.

Group F - 1. Japan, 2. Canada, 3. Sweden, 4. South Africa - Since their are only 12 teams in the Olympics, two 3rd place teams get to move on to the Quarterfinals. One of them should come from this group.

Group G - 1. USA, 2. France, 3. North Korea, 4. Colombia - USA & France finished 2 & 3 at the World Cup, and should finish top of the group. North Korea will probably be fighting with the other 3rd place teams, and New Zealand might edge them out for the final QF spot.

Japan winning the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup
The final four teams should include World Cup champion Japan and the United States, as well as Great Britain which will be on home soil. Its hard to pick the fourth, but Canada may have extra incentive since they are hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. I'm not sure Great Britain is quite ready to go all the way to the gold medal match, but I pick them to win the bronze medal over Canada. It's rare to see a major final rematch two years in a row, but Japan & USA should battle it out for the Gold Medal. The USA defense is shaky, but they tend to follow up a World Cup loss with an Olympic win, so I'll take USA winning the Gold. Japan easily has the power to beat the United States again though, especially if they score first since they always control possession.

Over on the Men's side, I'm going with Brazil winning their first Olympic Gold Medal, because it's surprising that they have yet to win a gold medal. I'll say South Korea gets the silver, and Great Britain get the bronze. As an update, its been announced that David Beckham will not be on the team.

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