Wales' Chris Gunter (L) attempts to tackle Mexico's Giovanni Dos Santos during the first half of their international friendly soccer match in East Rutherford, New Jersey, May 27, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Bill Kostroun)
In just days, the men's soccer tournament will kick off at the 2012 London Olympics when Mexico and South Korea begin the battle for the top of Group B. That day will also showcase eight matches from four different groups. The group stage of the tournament is set to end on August 1st with the Gold Medal match to be played on August 11.
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Group B is a rather interesting group as it is easily the widest open of the four. Mexico is the clear frontrunner to take the group but after them the runner-up spot is up for grabs with any of the remaining teams more than capable of qualifying.
Here is a look at the four teams comprising Group B of the men's soccer tournament of the 2012 Olympics.
Mexico has never won an Olympic Gold Medal at the games. The closest they came was fourth place in the 1968 games at home in Mexico City. In 2008, the team surprisingly failed to make the cut but come into these games winning their last five, including a victory over Brazil, and look primed for a breakout tournament.
Superstar Giovanni Dos Santos leads the pack as the team's major superstar. He has participated on the Mexican National team in a plethora of tournaments, including two World Cup finals and a CONCACAF championship just a few years ago. Dos Santos is the most talented player in the entire group and one of the top 5 in the entire tournament. Look for him to dominate.
The Africans are the only one of the three African qualifiers to make their first ever appearance at the Olympics. However, they must not be taken lightly as they are entering the tournament as winners of the CAF U-23 qualifying tournament where they upset the heavily favored Moroccans.
The team won four of six qualifying matches and got goals from six different players throughout their matches.
The Koreans have played in the games eight times, including six consecutive appearances. They made their debut in 1948 in London where they reached the quarterfinals after a 5-3 win over Mexico. They were subsequently defeated by an embarrassing 12-0 score against Sweden to end their first Olympic finals. In 2004, they made the quarter-finals again before losing to Paraguay 3-2.
Korea is loaded with talent defense and midfield, but lacks strong strikers. The team is capable of shutting down anyone of their group rivals, but will need to find a way of scoring if they plan to make it out of the group.
These Olympic Games mark the first time in 84 years that the Swiss make it to the games. However, this team is extremely well equipped with talent to succeed the successful World Cup contestants in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010. Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio from the 2010 World Cup Squad will be on hand to lend his experience to the youngsters.
The Swiss won four of five qualifying matches. Their lone loss was to Spain.
Mexico- 3 wins, 9 points
Switzerland- 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw, 4 points
Gabon- 2 draws, 1 loss, 2 points
Korea Republic- 2 losses, 1 draw, 1 point
Mexico cruises through the group led by a dominant Dos Santos. Switzerland's strong defensive game stifles the likes of Gabon and Korea who are unable to match the superiority of the group winners.
WATHC THE OPENING MATCHES OF GROUP B HERE.
For the complete schedule of the matches, click here.