As Nigeria looks for consolation against Honduras
By Nsikan Ikpe
With the semi-final matches behind them, the stage is now set for the final matches of the football event in the ongoing Rio Olympics, with hosts Brazil currently being tipped by bookmakers to carry the day.
This is coming on the heels of Brazil’s performance in the legendary Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro where it vexingly dispatched regional rivals, Honduras from the ongoing tournament with six unreplied goals
For the Brazil team, it was not just one more decisive victory in its avowed course to win the Men’s Olympic Football laurel for the first time in history, it was also were keen to make up for their female counterparts’ disappointing defeat by Sweden the night before.
Thus, in contrast to the women’s semi-final, which ended in a penalty shoot-out, there was a distinct lack of suspense in the men’s match, as the team recorded an eye-catching and comprehensive 6-0 victory.
On song was the star, Neymar, who provided two assists and scored two goals, one of which came just within 15 seconds of play and thus will go down as the fastest goal ever scored in Olympic football history.
In the second semi-final, Germany walloped Africa’s last man standing, Nigeria 2-0. The goals came from Lukas Klostermann and Nils Petersen, with one coming in each half of the encounter that was played at at the not-too-less-impressive Arena Corinthians.
With its hopes for gold from the tournament dashed, and with almost no other brighter chance of clinching any other medal in the already concluding tournament, the Africans are now clutching at all straws in the hope of securing a consolation bronze in the third place match on Saturday. But that is if an equally blustered Honduras would let them.
Back to the main attraction, already pundits are speculating that the final match will be a settling of scores between the two long-time footballing rivals. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final, the Germans had emerged victorious with a stunning 7-1 score. The hosts now have a chance to push back that horrible memory in the gold medal match.