By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
LONDON, ENGLAND – Two goals from Leandro Damião helped Brazil beat South Korea 3-0 and reach their first Olympic final in 24 years. Brazil will now play Mexico on Saturday at London’s Wembley Stadium, at 11AM Brazilian time.
The five-time FIFA World Cup champions have never won Olympic gold but after a far more convincing performance than their quarter-final win over Honduras confidence in the camp will be sky high. After his brace today, Damião is the tournament’s leading scorer, with six goals.
Brazil took their time to find their rhythm in the first half as the Koreans made the brighter start. With so much riding on the result the Brazilians appeared nervous, but settled down once Rômulo opened the scoring with a first-time strike eight minutes before the break.
The Brazilian defense still gave the fans reason to worry when Juan’s error allowed Ji Dongwon to go close to equalizing. Korea pressed again as the second half kicked-off, giving their opponents little room for maneuvering.
On their first counter of the half, though, Brazil made the game safe. Neymar’s low cross from the left found Damião unmarked who drove home. The second goal calmed the players’ nerves again and Oscar provided the third for Damião to put the Seleção out of sight.
As the final whistle blew, both players and supporters alike were celebrating and dreaming of a first gold medal come Saturday afternoon.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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