London 2012 Olympics Focus - Brazil vs. Honduras
St James' Park will host a clash of the Americas on Friday, as South meets Central with Brazil taking on Honduras in the early evening kick-off. The winner will face either hosts Team GB or South Korea in the semi-finals at Old Trafford.
Favourites for the tournament, Brazil, secured their 100% Group C record in the North East thanks to a 3-0 victory over New Zealand. Goals from Danilo, Leandro Damiao and Sandro gave the Selecao a comfortable win over an opponent that never really threatened to cause the upset that was required to see them progress to the latter stages of the Olympic football tournament.
Alex Sandro will be missing for Brazil through suspension, having picked up two yellow cards in quick succession against the All Whites. The second booking was received for a debatable penalty decision that went against the 21-year-old, who was deemed by Gambian referee Bakary Gassama to have dived, despite appearing to have gone down under contact.
Honduras, meanwhile, played out a 0-0 draw against Group D winners Japan, which saw both teams qualify for the quarter-finals. Luis Suarez' side recorded an impressive victory over world and double European champions Spain in their second game of the competition, which proved the springboard to qualification out of the group. Spearheaded by striker Jerry Bengtson, who has three goals to his name so far, Honduras will be hoping that they can eliminate another pre-tournament favourite.
Brazil Coach Mano Menezes had the opportunity to rest a number of players against the Kiwis, including star performer Oscar, which will contribute to a freshness to his side that will be buoyed by their domination of Group C. Goalkeeper Neto is expected to return to the side, along with Oscar, Hulk and Alexandre Pato. The Brazilians will stick to their fluid formation that sees the working of the channels with full-backs Rafael da Silva and Marcelo advancing at every opportunity.
Suarez is likely to pack his midfield to counteract the flair players that Brazil possess, attempting to deny their more illustrious opponents time on the ball to pick their passes. Bengtson - one of Honduras' over-age players - is currently the second-highest scorer in the competition, having netted all of his side's goals so far. The 25-year-old New England Revolution striker will have to be on top form to continue his streak, and give his team a chance of overcoming Brazil.
The South Americans will be a very difficult proposition for Honduras to deal with, as they go for a Gold medal that could prove inspirational in the build-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The next Olympic Games will also be hosted by Rio de Janeiro, and the Selecao will be looking to be in the position of defending an Olympic title on home soil in front of their own fans.