Brazil's Neymar runs with the ball during their Olympic men's friendly soccer match against Team GB ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, northern England, July 20, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Nigel Roddis)
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 C is similar to Group B in that aside from one team the other three are comparable in talent. Brazil is far and away the favorite to not only win the group but sweep through it. The runner up position is essentially up for grabs in this group.
Brazil has many reasons to believe that they can finally find success at the Olympic Games. The soccer country of the world who has five World Cup championships and a plethora of other cups as well has never won a single championship at the Olympics. The closest the Brazilians have come is two silver medals in 1996 and more recently in 2008.
However, this Brazilian squad comes in as heavy favorites to take the gold this year. Their squad includes superstar Neymar, Thiago Silva, Sandro, Alexandre Pato, Ganso, Leandro Damaio, and Lucas. This squad looks very similar to the team that could be competing for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil meaning that they are easily the deepest squad in the entire tournament.
Neymar has come under media scrutiny for not making the move to European leagues, but the Brazilian prodigy will have a chance to show why he does not need to. In the qualifying tournament, the superstar scored nine goals in nine games as Brazil won eight of nine matches. Expect the Brazilian to score tons of goals in the group stages.
The Egyptians have seen better days. A victory by the senior team in the CAF Africa Cup was followed up with no World Cup Appearance in 2010 or no qualification for the 2012 CAF African Cup of Nations.
Now the "Baby Pharoahs" will look to make up for the shortcomings up of their senior club. The qualified for the tournament by winning five of nine games and scored 12 goals in the process. They are a deep squad with eight players scoring on their twelve goals.
The Belarusians have never appeared in the finals of a major tournament, making London 2012 a historic tournament for them. They won only two of five matches in qualifying but have already proven to be a promising side in other international tournament qualifiers. Belarus is likely not to get out the group stage, but the momentum of arriving in London may prove enough to make this team become a surprise hit.
The Kiwis are slowly establishing themselves in the world of soccer after a debut in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games and a berth in the 2010 World Cup Finals. This team could be the runner-up in the group with such talent as Tommy Smith, Chris Wood, Kosta Barbarouses and Marco Rojas. All four of these dynamic players were absent in the qualifying matches, but will be on hand for the tournament and will likely propel this team. In four qualifying matches, the Kiwis won all four, including a shocking 10 goals against Tonga. This team can defend and score and will be a huge threat in group play.
Brazil: 3 wins, 9 points
Egypt: 2 wins, 1 loss, 6 points
New Zealand: 1 win, 2 losses, 3 points
Belarus: 0 wins, 3 losses, 0 points
Brazil will destroy their competition in group play. Egypt will have a nice showing and will qualify thanks to a tight win over New Zealand. Belarus will be the punching bag of the group despite strong play.
WATCH FIRST MATCHES OF GROUP C HERE.