Olympic Football

This entry was posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012

The Olympics is a wonderful occasion that brings together the best athletes in the world, from rowers to runners this really is the biggest stage on earth. Unless of course, you’re a footballer like Craig Bellamy, in which case you’ll likely spend the next few weeks hoping Team GB have provided name badges for your teammates.

The hype of course for games such as Korea v Gabon is so great and the noise likely to be so deafening that many of the top tiers of the stadiums have had to be closed to ensure noise decibel legislation is not breached.

But most importantly who is going to win? Well, only Spain (1992) have won as hosts in the last 19 Olympics, so for that reason and also because we lack talent, don’t rush to back Team GB at even at the 9/1 Blue Square are offering.  Incredibly Brazil have never won the Men’s Olympic Football, but have picked up the Silver or Bronze four times in the last seven Olympics. This time they are 7/4 favourites with Bet365 and it’s hard to look beyond them. With Thiago Silva, Marcelo and Hulk adding experience to the hugely talented young side, plus a relatively straightforward group of New Zealand, Belarus and Egypt you can’t imagine they won’t make the final.

However, anyone who remembers the 1996 final, will know all too well that Olympics football can cause a shock. In a remarkable game unfancied Nigeria twice came from behind before Emmanuel Amuneke scored a goal at the death to win Gold at Atlanta 1996. This came, after an ever more miraculous 4-3 victory over Brazil in the Semi-Final.

So could we be in for a shock this time? Well perhaps so. We like the look of Swizerland at 19/1 on Betfair and you could consider trading out if they make the final four. They’ve got a team made of up some of the youngsters who won the Under 17 crown in West Africa in 2010, whilst it’s worth recalling they came second in the UEFA Under 21 tournament in 2011. They have some excellent players such as FC Basel’s Valentin Stocker and Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri and shouldn’t be dismissed.

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