30 July, 2012

Honduras Eliminates Spain from Olympics

All of a sudden, losing the second CONCACAF Olympic qualifying spot to Honduras doesn't look so bad. After losing their opening match 1-0 to Japan on a first half goal by Yuki Otsu followed by a red card to Inigo Martinez (you killed my father, prepare to die) reduced Spain to ten men, Spain lost their second Olympic group stage match by the same score, 1-0, to Honduras. The two losses officially eliminate the favored Spanish team. Jerry Bengston of Honduras easily out-jumped Spanish defender Jordi Alba to head a Roger Espinoza cross into the net in the seventh minute. Spain, being the superior team, attacked far more throughout the rest of the game, but Honduras goalkeeper Jose Mendoza preserved the shutout with a little help from the goal frame, as Adrian Lopez and Iker Muniain both struck the woodwork for Spain in the second half.

Japan leads Group D with 6 points after two games, with Honduras coming up next. Honduras is currently second in the group with 4 points after two games, so a win over Japan gives the group to Honduras. The winner of Group D avoids probable Group C winner Brazil in the knockout round.

The other CONCACAF entry, Mexico, is tied atop Group B with South Korea, with 4 points each, as they tied each other 0-0 in their opening match. Mexico has a +2 GD and faces Switzerland in their final Group Stage game, while South Korea has a +1 GD and faces last place Gabon in their finale. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinal knockout round, so the four teams (Japan, South Korea, Honduras, Mexico) have all but clinched quarterfinal positions. However, the Japan/Honduras match determines who must face Brazil in the round of 8.

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