Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Olympics: Brazil beat South Korea to reach final

Brazil beat South Korea 3-0 to reach the final of the men's Olympic tournament for the first time in 24 years. 

It will face Mexico, which defeated Japan 3-1 at Wembley to advance to its first Olympic Gold medal match. 

"It's been a long time since we made it to this final and that shows how hard it is to get here," Brazil coach Mano Menezes said. 

"This group deserves a lot of credit and they know that we are closer to finally winning the gold." 

Brazil was the bronze-medalist in 2008 in Beijing but hadn't reached the final since the 1988 Seoul Games, when a team led by Romario and Bebeto finished with the silver. 

Brazil also won the silver in the 1984 Los Angeles Games and got another bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Games. 

"The entire team had a huge effort to reach the final," striker Leandro Damiao said. 

"We are happy to have made it to the final and we are here to win the gold medal. We are Brazil, we are here for the gold." 

But the Brazilians struggled early against South Korea at Old Trafford before taking control of the match after defensive midfielder Romulo opened the scoring with a low shot from inside the area following a pass by playmaker Oscar in the 38th minute. 

Damiao scored twice in the 57th and 64th to seal the victory and become the tournament's leading goal scorer with six goals, surpassing Senegal's Moussa Konate. 

"We had difficulties in the beginning of the match but the goal came at the right moment and we were able to slowly regain control," Menezes said. 

"What matters the most is that we got our fifth straight win and reached our goal to make it to the final." 

South Korea was making its first semifinal appearance at the Olympics. 

"It could have been better but we blew our early chances at the beginning of the game," South Korea coach Hong Myung-bo said. 

"The players were tired but they could have worked a little bit harder. It was hard for us to recover after our previous matches but hopefully we will be in better shape to play Japan." 

South Korea had earlier beaten hosts Great Britain on penalties. 

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