Those lucky enough to have a ticket for the men’s Football Final at Wembley on Saturday afternoon will get to see an all-South American affair as the tournament favourites Brazil will play Mexico. The Brazilians, for all their talent, have yet to win gold, having twice had to settle for silver, while they also have a brace of bronze medals. They last reached the final at the 1988 Seoul Games, when a team led by Romario and Bebeto finished with the silver after losing out to the Soviet Union after extra-time. As for Mexico, the best they have managed is fourth place when they hosted the Games in 1968, and ironically it was Japan that beat them 2-0 to deny them the bronze medal.
So, a new name will appear on the roll of honour, and based on what we have seen over the past week and a half, there is little to separate the two sides. Brazil brushed aside Great Britain’s conquerors South Korea by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline in the semi-finals, with an assured and confident performance, especially from one of their star players, Leandro Damiao who helped himself to two of the goals.
However, Saturday’s opponents Mexico, for whom this is a first major final, will be no pushovers judged by the way that they stormed back from a goal down to win 3-1 against Japan who, apart from Brazil, had been many people’s team of the tournament so far. Mexico were not overawed by Japan’s quick passing style, and have the players capable of putting pressure on the Brazil defence that in truth has not been tested to the limit so far at London 2012.
Argentina has won the gold medal at each of the past two Games at Athens and Beijing, and so now it is certain that the continent will house the best Olympic side in the world for another four years yet again. Brazil are favourites, and with the nucleus of the next World Cup squad to call upon, should just about have too much overall talent to let the chance slip against their neighbours.
If Brazil are favourites for the men’s gold medal, then the USA women will assume it is their right to be considered as the best team in the world, a title that was snatched away from them in dramatic fashion when losing out to Japan on penalty kicks in last year’s World Cup Final. To earn the right for a re-match, the Americans dug deep to beat Canada by an amazing 4-3 scoreline in the semi-final at Old Trafford, with Alex Morgan grabbing the winner in added time.
Lucky talisman Abbey Wambach, the most prolific scorer in the national side, also got on the score sheet, and it is to her that they will look to in Thursday’s Final to gain revenge over a Japan side that were a bit lucky to get past France, who missed a penalty that would have levelled the score with 10 minutes to go. The USA have a proud history at the Olympic Games, having contested every Final since women’s soccer was introduced at Atlanta 1996, the year of their first gold medal.
They had to be content with silver at Sydney 2000, but are now going for an amazing third consecutive gold after triumphs at both Athens and Beijing. That never-say-die effort against Canada shows that they just do not know the meaning of the word defeat, and it just has to be the USA to grab the glory at Wembley on Thursday evening.
Olympic Football Gold Medal Odds
BetFred as with all online bookies have Brazil as the favourites to take Gold in the Mens Olympic Football with odds of 1/4 and Mexico have odds of 11/4, In the Women’s Olympic Football USA are firm favourites at 10/11 with Japan slightly less favoured at 5/2. Not the best odds for a return admittedly but as always BetFred have a number of other ways to bet on the Olympic Football Finals that could see you with a big win!
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