Brazil impressed with South Korea's energy
“South Korea has a very intense game, their players can keep up the pace during the entire match,” Brazilian coach Mano Menezes said Sunday.
Menezes made the remarks in a news conference ahead of the semifinal with South Korea in the men’s football tournament at the London Olympics.
The South Korea-Brazil semifinal will be held from 3:40 a.m. on Wednesday (KST).
South Korea is in the Olympic football semis for the first time. Brazil's men's team has won four Olympic medals, but none of them were gold. It earned silver in 1984 and 1988, and bronze in 1996 and 2008.
South Korea defeated Britain 5-4 in a penalty shootout to reach the semifinals in the tournament. The two teams tied regulation and extra time at 1-1.
Brazil defeated Honduras 3-2 in its quarterfinal. Brazilian players finished the match and went straight to the hotel to watch the late quarterfinal between South Korea and Britain, hoping to take a close look at their next opponent, news reports said.
Thiago Silva, captain of the Brazilian squad said: “South Korea is a team which runs a lot all the time and will never give up,'' according to the Associated Press.
“Even during extra time, when you expected them to get a bit more tired, they kept running and going after the goal to advance.”
In addition to the South Koreans' strong physical condition, Silva said the Asians also know how to play simple and hardly make mistakes, giving few chances to their opponents to get near their area, AP said.
“They move the ball around really well,'' the Paris Saint-Germain central defender said. “They rarely missed a pass, and they are intelligent getting into position up front.”
Wednesday's semifinal should provide a matchup between attack against defense, AP said. Brazil has scored 12 goals in its first four matches, while South Korea's defense has conceded only two. The Koreans have lacked much offensive power, though, scoring only three goals ― Brazil's defense has allowed five.