London 2012 Olympics Focus - Group C
As the men and women football tournaments get the London 2012 Olympic Games underway, all of the opening fixtures of the men's tournament take place on the same day. Both of the Group C games will be contested at the same time, being the only group to do this as all other games are spread out throughout the day.
Brazil take on Egypt at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, with Belarus meeting New Zealand at the City of Coventry Stadium. Although the eyes of football fans will be drawn to the exciting prospect of seeing Brazil's starlets in their opener, the more decisive match in the group could be the more understated clash in the West Midlands.
However, it would constitute one of the major shocks in Olympic football history should Brazil suffer defeat against the Egyptians. The South Americans are fully expected to dispatch all of their group opponents with relative ease, having brought to these shores a squad bursting with potential and much sought-after youngsters. The over-age players - Marcelo of Real Madrid, Chelsea's long-term target Hulk, and PSG's recent big-money signing Thiago Silva - bring a blend of experience that should complement the more up-and-coming under-23-year-olds.
Brazil's strength in depth is shown by the likelihood that Alexandre Pato of AC Milan looks set to start on the bench, waiting in the wings for an opportunity to join an attacking force that has the potential to ignite the Olympics before the opening ceremony has even taken place. Neymar, Leandro Damiao and Hulk are expected to begin as the attacking trident in a 4-3-3 formation, with Oscar - who has just completed his big money move to Chelsea - operating in the role of playmaker and dictating play from midfield. Manchester United target Lucas looks like starting on the bench, but has the explosive potential to hurt what will surely be a tiring Egypt towards the end of the game.
For the African outfit, it would be seen as a colossal achievement if they could get something out of the fixture. Egypt won the Africa Cup of Nations on three consecutive occasions between 2006 and 2010, but failed to qualify for the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon earlier this year. They have a point to prove that they are not a spent force, and will be looking to their younger generation to restore some pride in their national team. Egypt will undoubtedly have to be well-drilled and organised to keep out Brazil's attacking stars, but will be looking to striker Emad Moteab to grab a goal that could give them a foothold in the game and the group.
In the other game, both sides will be fully aware that a victory would give them a great chance of progressing past the group stage. Belarus have a strong influence of BATE Borisov players that have graced the biggest stage in European football - the Champions League. They will look to control possession, and try to hurt a New Zealand side that will be led by their influential captain, and former Blackburn and Tottenham defender, Ryan Nelson. He will not be surrounded by talent as great as his own, which could leave the All-Whites looking to goalkeeper Jake Gleeson to be on top form.
The opening round of Group C fixtures could be an explosive start to the competition, and potentially decisive if there are two positive results to come out of it.