Brazil tipped for glory in Olympics
SAO PAULO - The Associated Press
(L-R) Brazil’s Marcelo, Neymar and Rafael are seen during a training session. REUTERS PhotoMore than ever, it will be all or nothing for Brazil’s men’s national team in the Olympic football tournament.
Brazil has always been under pressure to win the gold medal, the only significant title it doesn’t have in football, but in London there will be a lot more at stake for the five-time world champions.
Brazil will be one of the few teams with most of its top players, and failure at the Olympics will likely cost coach Mano Menezes his job ahead of the 2014 World Cup the nation will host.
“We know that our final evaluation ahead of the World Cup will be done during the Confederations Cup next year, when we will play with a team which won’t be restricted by the age limit,” Menezes said after announcing Brazil’s squad.
Few teams will showcase their top players at the Olympics because it’s played with under-23 squads and only three overage players per nation, but Brazil’s young squad will include names such as Neymar, Lucas, Alexandre Pato, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Oscar and Leandro Damiao.
Brazil’s overage players in London will be AC Milan defender Thiago Silva, Real Madrid left back Marcelo and FC Porto striker Hulk.
Brazil will be one of the favorites along with host Britain and Spain.
Not many other top football nations will be competing. Of the 16 teams in the tournament, four will be making their Olympic debut - Senegal, Gabon, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates.