Sandro (bottom) of Brazil celebrates scoring a goal with team mates Danilo and Lucas (R) during their men's first round Group C preliminary soccer match against New Zealand at the London 2012 Olympic Games at St James' Park in Newcastle, August 1, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Nigel Roddis )
Group C of the Men's Soccer tournament of the 2012 Olympic Games came to an end with two breathtaking performances by Brazil and Egypt. Both squads ended group play as the two qualifiers for the knockout rounds.
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Brazil 3, New Zealand 0
Brazil dominated the Kiwis from start to finish as they capped the group stage with their best performance to date. Brazil started off with a questionable effort against Egypt in which a 3-0 lead turned into a 3-2 frenzied finish. They followed it up trailing 1-0 to Belarus in the match's opening minutes before reeling off three goals in a 3-1 win. Against New Zealand, Brazil jumped out to a 3-0 lead and continued looking for the fourth, which never happened.
Danilo got the festivities started for the Samba Kings in the 22nd minute off a given and go in which he found himself alone in the box. Leandro Damiao added another on a similar give and go play down the left side of the box which gave the Selecao a 2-0 lead in the 28th minute.
In the second half, the South Americans added yet another goal when Sandro headed a cross off a free kick in the 51st minute. Brazil had opportunities to add the fourth but never succeeded. In the 75th minute Sandro received a second yellow card for on a conspicuous call that left Brazil with just 10 men on the pitch. However, New Zealand continued looking lethargic and overmanned by a superior Brazilian squad.
Egypt 3, Belarus 1
In the first half against the Egyptians, who were desperate for a victory, they handled themselves well. However, the 0-0 draw heading into the second half indicated that one team would eventually fall apart. Belarus would be that team.
In the 55th minute the Egyptian squad got a nice goal from Salah who used his speed to divert the Belarusian defenders. The goal was his third in three matches. In the 72nd minute Egypt would strike again with a goal from Marwan Mohsen off an Eslam Ramadan cross and just six minutes later Mohamed Aboutrika would add his second goal of the tournament off an odd man rush. Andrei Voronsky gave Belarus one last thing to cheer about with a header in the waning moments of the match but the eastern Europeans' fate was already sealed.
Final Group Standings
Brazil: 9 points, 3 wins, 9 goals for, 3 goals against, +6 Goal Differential
Egypt: 4 points, 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw, 6 goals for, 5 goals against, +1 Goal Differential
Belarus: 3 points, 1 win, 2 losses, 3 goals for, 6 goals against, -3 goal differential
New Zealand: 1 point, 1 draw, 2 losses, 1 goal for, 5 goals against, -4 goal differential
Brazil will play the runnerup of Group D while Egypt takes on the winner of Group D.
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