Brazil's Neymar (top) celebrates with teammate and Oscar after scoring their second goal against Belarus during their men's Group C football match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Old Trafford in Manchester July 29, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Andrea Comas)
After their match against Egypt in which they almost coughed up a three goal lead, it was easy to doubt Brazil's viability as a contender. However, a 3-1 victory over Belarus consolidated the Samba Kings as the top team left in the tournament.
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Leading the way was superstar Neymar who often looked selfish in the opening matchup. However in this match he scored a goal and set up two others, a display of his ability to create and finish.
Brazil was primed for a letdown after they gave up a goal just eight minutes in off a Renan Bardini Bressan header that made it seem like Brazil would continue the descent they had initiated in the second half of their match with Egypt. However, the implosion ceased when Alexandre Pato tied the score just seven minutes later off a Neymar cross.
Belarus tightened up defensively after the tying goal, but it only gave Brazil more time and space to create opportunities. However, the Brazilians kept getting in their own way and were unable to capitalize. Neymar broke through at the 65th minute with his second straight game winner when he sent a 30-yard free kick into the top left-hand corner. Neymar then added another assist on an Oscar goal in stoppage time.
The win officially qualified Brazil for the quarterfinals and reasserted their image as tournament favorites. Meanwhile Belarus qualifies for the next round with a win or tie against Egypt.