Sunday, August 5, 2012

London 2012: Olympic Soccer Semifinals Set

The semifinals of the London 2012 Olympics Soccer (Football) Tournament is set. First on the women's side, United States defeated New Zealand 2-0, Japan beat Brazil 2-0, France topped Sweden 2-1 and the hosts Great Britain fell to Canada 2-0. In the USA-New Zealand match there was a nasty collision between Alex Morgan's knee and Jenny Binden's head. Luckily both are fine, and Morgan should start in the semifinal between USA and Canada, 2:45 ET on NBC Sports Network Monday. Canada hasn't beaten the United States since 2001, but you have to imagine the Canadians are closing in on a victory. All streaks must come to an end. I don't think they will get it tomorrow, but you never know. Abby Wambach has been on a roll scoring in every game, while Hope Solo and the US defense hasn't allowed a goal since the first half against France in game one.

Canada is hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, so this final four finish is already a big success ahead of that. They've shown that they will be contenders to win it all on home soil. The other semifinal is Japan vs. France. The defending World Cup champions should have a tougher challenge from France than they did against an aging Brazil. If Japan controls possession like they should, I expect them to win and set up a Women's World Cup final rematch with the USA. 2011 FIFA women's world player of the year, Homare Sawa, has yet to score for Japan.

On the men's side its Japan vs. Mexico and Brazil vs. South Korea. Brazil are the clear favorites for their first Olympic gold, but South Korea could give them fits. Japan dominated Egypt, though Mexico will be a tougher test for them. I expect Japan to beat Mexico and take the silver, with South Korea taking bronze.

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