Brazil, Mexico, Japan and South Korea have made it to the semifinals of the London 2012 Olympic Football tournament. Brazil will meet South Korea while Mexico will play Japan in the two semifinals.
In the early game a resilient Egypt tried to keep pace with an early scoring Japan. But the African nation found itself shorthanded at the 41st minute when Saad was sent off for a last man in a goal scoring opportunity foul on Saito and the game seemed out of reach thereafter. Egypt played well and it was not until the 78th and 83rd minutes that Japan was able to turn its numeric superiority into goals for a 3-0 score line.
The second game turned out to be a thriller that was decided on two awful defensive blunders. Mexico pulled ahead 2-0 with first and second half goals only to have Senegal tie the score within a six minute span of the second half. In the ensuing overtime an errant Senegal defensive back pass in the box allowed Giovanni dos Santos an easy intercept and score. Soon thereafter a similarly amateurish 20 yard defensive header back to a badly compromised goalkeeper saw Herrera score off the ensuing intercept into an empty net.
At game's end Senegal striker Konate, the tournament's current top scorer, personalizing the spirit of a team happy to have made it to the quarterfinals, said: "I ... score[d] five goals, now I will do my best to keep my adventure going."
The third game of the day saw a poor-playing Brazil advance 3-2 over Honduras. The Central Americans seemed intent on capitalizing on the unsportsmanlike strategies they employed successfully against Spain but ran into a ref that would have none of it. Within the first six minutes of the game, and throughout the pitch, Honduras striker Martinez, midfielder Espinoza, and defender Velasquez, each attempted to goad the ref into yellow cards for the simplest of Brazilian infractions. This time the ref caught on immediately, saw through the choreographed performance and responded with a tight grip and a no nonsense approach to the cynical side of our sport.
As the game progressed, and despite having a early 1-0 lead, the Hondurans escalated their fouling and bating of the Brazilians using as much trickery as violence. The ref continued his iron grip on the proceedings, handing out 9 yellow cards and ejecting Honduras' Crisanto at the 33rd minute on a cynical and second yellow foul on Neymar and thereafter ejecting Espinoza in injury time for another unnecessary double yellow. Inexplicably the stadium audience gave the ejected Hondurans ovations while booing the Brazilians at game's end.
After the game Honduran coach Luis Suarez was asked about the role the ref played in the match. Press conference reports say he smiled ruefully and said: "I never talk about the performance of a referee."
In the final quarterfinal of the day South Korea opened the scoring with the nicest left-footed blast of the tournament so far by Dongwon Ji, only to see Britain's Ramsey equalize with a lucky goal off a poorly taken penalty that just squeezed under keeper Jung Sung-Ryong. Minutes later Ramsey took a second poor penalty and this time Jung saved it, ending the first half at 1-1 but with a decided South Korean flavor despite the two-penalty advantage.
The second half continued Korea's superior play but ended in a tie after full time and extra time. At the ensuing penalty shootout Ramsey managed to score but South Korea prevailed 5-4 on a single save by substitute goalkeeper Younggwon Kim.