(L to R) Japan's Hiroki Sakai, Kensuke Nagai and Yuki Otsu celebrate after winning the match in their men's Group D football match against Morocco at the London 2012 Olympic Games at St James' Park in Newcastle, northern England July 29, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Nigel Roddis )
Group play at the Men's soccer tournament at the Olympics 2012 will come to its conclusion on Wednesday.
Group D already has one team eliminated from contention and surprisingly, it is not the team everyone expected. Spain is gone from competition, but the other three contestants of the group are very much alive.
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Japan Vs. Honduras 12 p.m. EDT
Japan has already qualified for the second round by virtue of good wins against Spain and Morocco. They dominated the Spaniards throughout their encounter but looked a bit more tentative against the aggressive Moroccans. They will need to impose their aggressive play against a Central American team that knows how to counter and create opportunities from nothing.
Honduras is one tie away from making it out of the group stage of a FIFA tournament for the first time in history. They played Morocco to an entertaining 2-2 draw which showcased their offensive skills. Their win over Spain was not as easy as they likely hoped, but they shutdown an overzealous and impatient Spanish side while causing the Europeans their fair share of scares. However, they will play this one safely and look for the tie knowing that one point puts them through.
Prediction: Both teams will play to a safe 0-0 draw as they both know it benefits them more than any other result. Japan clinches the group with a draw and Honduras obtains a quarterfinals berth with the single point.
Spain vs. Morocco 12 p.m. EDT
Only Morocco has anything at stake in this match. However, regardless of whether they beat Spain 1-0 or 10-0, their ability to make the quarterfinals is contingent on a Japanese victory. They have played well through two matches, but will be playing easily the most talented team in their group to end the group round.
Spain was expected to compete for the gold medal but will instead be headed home after their match with Morocco. Who knows what to expect from this team who will only look to play for pride. They have the skills to make it happen, but they big question that remains is whether they can score at least one goal before leaving what is likely the nation's most embarrassing performance in years?
Prediction: Spain loses again as Morocco plays with the fire and intensity. Expect a 2-0 scoreline as the Spaniards exit the tournament without a single goal to their credit.
Group Standings Predictions
Japan: 7 points, 2 wins, 1 draw
Honduras: 5 points, 1 win, 2 draws
Morocco: 4 points, 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw
Spain: 0 points, 3 losses, 0 goals scored