[BRAZIL-SOUTH KOREA] How good is Brazil's Olympic men's soccer team? Coach Mano Menezes began Tuesday's semifinal
against South Korea without European-based stars Hulk and Alexandre Pato in the starting lineup. Highly rated Lucas Moura and Ganso didn't even play, but Brazil still cruised to a 3-0 win as it continued its search of the elusive gold
medal in men's soccer.
Romulo put Brazil ahead in the 38th minute, and Leandro Damiao added two second-half goals.
When the tournament began all the talk in England was about Oscar (signed by Chelsea from Internacional on the eve of the tournament) and Lucas (rumored to be headed to Manchester United from Sao Paulo), but Damiao has emerged as one of the stars of the Olympics with a tournament-high six goals.
“When we made the selection, Pato was hardly playing at all so Damiao was already a very important part of the squad,’’ Mano said. “I wanted to keep Damiao in the team until he scored a goal and that plan has obviously worked. He is a very important player for us but it is more about the team than the individuals.”
The win moved Brazil into Saturday's gold-medal game against Mexico.
"I'm so happy," said Damiao, who is rumored to be in negotiations with Tottenham. "We have made a huge effort to reach the final. We are here to win the gold medal -- it was a tough match but we are a great team. We are Brazil. We are here for the gold."