Brazil, Honduras reach Olympic football semis

Brazil defeated Columbia 2-0 and Honduras beat South Korea 1-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Olympic football on Saturday.

In the grudge match against Colombia at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Neymar and Luan scored in the 12th and 88th minutes to hand Brazil a semi-final berth against Honduras set for Wednesday.

In the other quarter-final match, a goal by Alberth Elis in the 59th minute put his side through in a tight match against the Koreans in Belo Horizonte.

In the other semi-final, Germany, who beat Portugal 4-0 earlier on Saturday; will face Nigeria on Wednesday after the West African side beat Denmark 2-0.

Brazil show big improvement

The Brazilians began the tournament very poorly with two consecutive grab 0-0 draws against South Africa and Iraq, leading to boos echoing around the stadium at the final whistle on both occasions.

However, any fears the nation’s under-23 side would flatter to deceive at the tournament are quickly being eroded by their increasingly impressive performances in the playoffs.

The start of the match was a nervy affair with clumsy challenges coming in from both sides leading to plenty of fouls and yellow cards early on.

Neymar made the most of a foul in the 12th minute as he stepped up to the free kick 30 yards from goal and fired Brazil into the lead with a powerful strike.

Despite dominating long periods of the match, the home side had to wait until the 83 minute to secure the result with Luan capping off a flowing attacking move when he noticed the Colombian goalkeeper off his line and hit a deft finish over him to make the score 2-0.

Honduras claim historic win

Korea will be devastated with the result after dominating almost the entire match, creating more than twice as many chances as their opponents, but were made to pay for their inability to find the back of the net.

For their part, Honduras defended excellently, restricting the Asian side to mostly shots from long range, which either flew wide of the target or proved little challenge for their goalkeeper to save.

The Hondurans were patient in waiting for Korea to over-extend so they could counter and they took full advantage of one such opportunity in the 60th minute when Romell Quioto broke from inside his own half and went on a long run before playing an excellent square ball for Alberth Elis, who finished with aplomb.

Korea fought back well and threw everything they had at Honduras for the final half an hour of the game, but continued to be wasteful in front of goal and ended up paying the price.

It was a momentous occasion for the north American side as they qualified for the semi-final of the Olympics for the first time in their history.