Despite controlling possession, Brazil couldn't break down the defense of 10-men South Africa on Thursday and only came away with a disappointing one point from its opening match. The favorites to win Group A and win the gold medal face off against Iraq in their second match on Sunday night in Brasilia. Iraq drew 0-0 with Denmark in its first match of the tournament, despite having more possession and the better chances throughout the game.
Brazil didn't create as many quality scoring opportunities against South Africa as one might expect and will look to change that against another inexperienced side in Iraq. With the likes of Neymar and skillful youngsters Gabigol and Gabriel Jesus, the Brazilian attack shouldn't be held in check much longer.
Elsewhere in Group A, Denmark duels with South Africa as each teams looks to get its first win of the tournament.
In the second games from Group B, Colombia takes on Japan and Nigeria battles Sweden. After a fairly even contest in which Sweden and Colombia drew 2-2, both sides will be looking to earn three points and put themselves in a great position to advance from the group. Sweden could have difficulty defending the athleticism and physicality of Nigeria that gave Japan fits in the first match, a match that ended 5-4 in favor of the Super Eagles. Japan, a technically gifted side, will once again have to deal with an athletic Colombian team that can cause opponents problems on the counter attack. In arguably the most competitive group in the men's tournament, these matchups could truly go either way.
In other men's preliminary action on Sunday, Mexico, who tied Germany 2-2 in a rain-soaked thriller in Salvador in its first match, takes on Fiji, the tiny nation from Oceania. Fiji, who was thrashed by South Korea 8-0 in its initial game of the tournament, will most likely have difficulty with El Tri. Germany squares off against a technical South Korea squad in the other matchup from Group C, a game that should be tightly-contested to the final whistle.
After defeating Algeria 3-2 in a high-scoring affair in Rio, Honduras battles with Portugal in Group D in the second match of the tournament for both teams. Portugal, who defeated Argentina 2-0 on Thursday, handing the South American side its first Olympic men's soccer loss in twenty years, will have to deal with an extremely pacy and athletic Honduras squad. While Portugal is the favorite in this match to earn three points, Honduras has the talent and physicality to make it hard-earned. In the other Group D matchup, Argentina looks to rebound and find a result against an Algerian team that found better footing against Honduras as the game went on.