Brazil at last find form in Rio

Hosts Brazil secured their place in the knockout stage of the Men’s Rio 2016 Olympic Football competition after a 4-0 thrashing of Denmark at the Arena Fonte Nova on Thursday.

A Selecao were in danger of being knocked out of the tournament after two goalless draws, but rediscovered their scoring touch in their final group game.

Gabriel scored a brace, with goals in the 26th and 80th minutes, either side of a 40th minute Gabriel Jesus effort and a Luan strike on 50 minutes.

Surprisingly, the other side to emerge from Group A was the Danes, with Iraq and South Africa playing to a 1-1 draw.

Gift Motupa got Ama-glug-glug off to the perfect start with his sixth minute effort, but it was barely eight minutes later before Saad Abdulameer found an equaliser for the Iraq side, and with Brazil winning, both teams were facing the reality of an early exit from Rio 2016.

Nigeria were unable to continue their perfect start to their tournament as they suffered a 2-0 loss to Colombia in Sao Paulo. Teofilo Gutierrez kicked off proceedings in the fourth minute with Dorlan Pabon securing the three points from the penalty spot with 63 minutes of the match played.

The Dream Team still managed to top the table after their three group games with six points, with Colombia in second just a point adrift.

Japan ended third in Group B after their 1-0 win over Sweden in their final match at the Olympics on Thursday.

Having lost and drawn a game, a win may have been enough to see the Japanese through to the quarter-finals, but were relying on Nigeria to secure a result in their match.

As it was, Shinya Yajima’s 65th minute goal was not enough to see his side through as they ended with four points, while Sweden claimed just the one point from their earlier draw with the Colombians.

Korea Republic were Group C winners following their hard-fought 1-0 win over Mexico, with Chang-Hoon Kwon on target in the 77th minute, while not surprisingly, Germany also emerged from this group, with a 10-0 humiliation of Fiji.

The Taegeuk Warriors had dismantled Fiji 8-0 before drawing 3-3 with Germany; a result that threatened the Nationalelf’s further participation in this tournament, but after drawing with both Korea and Mexico, the Germans made light work of the Fijians in their last group game.

Serge Gnabry started the scoring in the eighth minute and grabbed a second just before half time. But the score was already 6-0 by that time with Nils Petersen bagging the first of five goals in the 14th minute. Max Meyer was next on target after half and hour before two further Petersen strikes, after 33 and 40 minutes.

Meyer added a seventh just five minutes after the break before completing a hat-trick of his own on 52 minutes. Petersen though just kept on pilling them in, with a converted penalty just past the hour mark, and a final demoralising effort with 70 minutes on the clock.

The results ultimately saw Mexico end in third place with four points as Fiji completed the standings in bottom place without securing a point.

And finally, in Group D, it was Portugal and Honduras that lived to fight another day following a couple of 1-1 draws, against Algeria and Argentina respectively.

Portugal had already beaten Argentina and Honduras so a point was always going to be enough for their progression. Goncalo Paciencia netted from the penalty spot on 25 minutes, but Algeria weren’t going to give up that easily in Belo Horizonte and secured their first point of the competition with a 30th minute Mohamed Benkablia equaliser.

Argentine fans will be massively disappointed with their side though, as after a 2-0 opening day defeat by Portugal, they clawed themselves back into contention for a knockout place with a 2-1 win over Algeria. A win over Honduras would have been enough to see Albicelestes progress, but it was only a Mauricio Martinez goal in the third minute of injury time at the end of the match that even saw Argentina record a draw, with Anthony Lozano having put his side into the lead from the penalty spot with just 15 minute of the match remaining.

Wednesday’s Men’s Olympic Football results:

Algeria U23 1-1 Portugal U23

Argentina U23 1-1 Honduras U23

Germany U23 10-0 Fiji U23

Korea Republic U23 1-0 Mexico U23

Japan U23 1-0 Sweden U23

Colombia U23 2-0 Nigeria U23

Denmark U23 0-4 Brazil U23

South Africa U23 1-1 Iraq U23