Men's Olympic soccer preview
But the Olympic tournament is also more important to Brazil than to most established soccer countries because Brazil has somehow never won the gold medal. On paper, this Brazil team should end that drought with a star-studded squad that includes Hulk, Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Sandro, Alexandre Pato, Lucas Moura and Paulo Henrique Ganso. But the star of stars is Neymar. Can he handle the pressure and bring home a title?
None. The U.S. men didn't qualify.
Honduras. The U.S. blew its chance to qualify for the Olympics, leaving Honduras to grab the second bid from CONCACAF. If you're looking for an inspirational underdog, you couldn't do much better than La H, which has a tough group in Spain, Japan and Morocco. There are also some familiar faces to MLS fans here, including D.C. United's Andy Najar and Kansas City's Roger Espinoza.
• The names on Brazil's squad give you the impression that a gold medal is a given, but consider the players on some of the previous Brazil Olympic teams who failed to bring home the gold: 2008 (Ronaldinho, Thiago Silva, Pato, Hernanes, Diego), 2000 (Ronaldinho, Lúcio, Julio César), 1996 (Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Bebeto, Juninho, Aldair, Dida, Flavio Conceição), 1988 (Romário, Bebeto, Mazinho, Careca, Jorginho, Taffarel) and 1984 (Dunga, Silvinho).
• The last time Spain made a deep Olympic soccer run was Sydney 2000, when a team that included 2010 World Cup winners Xavi, Carles Puyol and Joan Capdevila beat the U.S. in the semifinals before losing to Samuel Eto'o-led Cameroon in the final.
• Three MLS players are involved in the Olympics: Honduras' Najar and Espinoza and Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson (New Zealand). Kiwi backup goalkeeper Michael O'Keefe plays at Fairfield University.
• The youngest player in the tournament is Gabon's defender Muller Dinda. He's listed as being 16.
• Uruguay can say that it has won every Olympic soccer tournament that it has ever entered. The
The gold-medal game will be played at Wembley Stadium on Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. ET.