The first round of the 2012 Olympics men’s football got off to an astonishing start, with upsets and drama the focal points in the second day of the Games.
While Egypt proved they are more than just the whipping boys of Group C, staging a late fight-back against Brazil, only to run out of time and go down 3-2, Japan made their mark on the tournament with a staggering 1-0 victory over Spain, one of the favourites for the gold in the Olympics football odds.
But one game that should have provided the biggest upset of the round was certainly United Arab Emirate’s failed bid to overcome Uruguay. Inside Old Trafford, the UAE put on a show of superb footballing technique and confidence, only to see their endeavours dashed by a clinical Uruguayan strike force.
Many will be forgiven for knowing absolutely nothing about UAE’s U23 squad. The nation has never fielded a men’s football team at the Olympic Games.
Very much under the radar, UAE are developing into a major force in Asia, and at their rate of growth could soon be seen at a World Cup in the future. The U23 squad have already won a silver medal at the 2010 Asia Games, losing out 1-0 to a Japanese side that look to be going places after their recent Spain win.
UAE’s confidence to one-touch pass around Uruguay was simply bewildering, their midfield often breaking free in a first half filled with excitement. Ismaeil Matar’s smooth finish came as no surprise, after a flourishing opening, but unfortunately the team was overrun in the second half by Uruguay’s experienced forwards.
Although losing 2-1 at Old Trafford, UAE should be tipped to progress to the knock-out stage. They certainly don’t lack confidence, and with a bit of luck in front of goal, could even win a medal this summer.
Football fans looking to expand their sporting horizons, this summer, should pay a visit to the Olympics tennis odds page on Betfair for the latest odds on Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, among others.