Olympic-sized Bites: Soccer
The soccer at the Olympics could be considered a disappointment -- on the other hand, it could also be looked at as an opportunity for young players to showcase their talent on the international stage. Either way; it's a cup half empty or a cup half full.
The undeniable truth is that full-strength squads are a notable absence from this year’s Olympics. The boards have insisted on giving top players a rest, and noticeably England’s squad lacks any of its top players, showing the semi-scorn the footballing world has for the three pedestals.
Brazil will be favorites for the gold. Unlike many other countries, they are sending three top-class players, Neymar, Thiago, and Pato. Oscar is one to watch for too.
All eyes will be on the extremely talented Neymar as he spearheads Brazil’s quest for a first Olympic gold medal. Imagine that, six World Cups but not a single Olympic medal!
Spain is also in the mix, although with only three players from its full-strength Euro squad. They’re not as favored because of this fact, and young Jordi Alba will head their charge to a long-awaited Olympic gold. England, Mexico, and Uruguay will be doing the same. This Olympics, the men’s sides seem to all be led by one player, not having much balance throughout the squad.
Predictions: Gold – Brazil, Silver – Spain, Bronze - Uruguay
Somewhat interestingly, the women’s sides are substantially more interesting than the men’s soccer competition.
The US is likely to win the gold. They have the dynamic scoring duo of Abby Warnbach and Alex Morgan and are supporting a near-full strength squad. Also, their undisputed gold in 2008 will bolster their confidence and will probably lead them to victory.
Kelly Smith and Ellen White are important figures in Great Britain’s push to Olympic glory. A lot of hype has surrounded the GB soccer team, and now it’s time for them to live up to it all. They will be main contenders to dethrone the dominant US women’s team.
Brazil, led by Marta, France, and Sweden will try to ascend the podium in a close contest.
Predictions: Gold – US, Silver – Great Britain, Bronze - Brazil