Men’s Olympic Rewind: Honduras eliminates Spain, Brazil cruises, and more

HondurasSpain (Getty)

Honduras pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic soccer history on Sunday, riding an early goal from New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson on their way to a 1-0 victory against Spain. A defeat that eliminated Spain from the Olympics.

The Hondurans rode tenacious and organized defense, outstanding goalkeeping, and a healthy amount of luck to hold off a Spain side widely regarded as a favorite to reach the gold medal game. Spain dominated possession for long stretches, and created several chances, but they kept sending those chances either wide, off the woodwork or close enough for the Honduras goalkeeper to knock them away.

The Hondurans won on the strength of a goal created by three MLS players. D.C. United's Andy Najar laid off a pass to Sporting Kansas City's Roger Espinoza, who rifled a perfect cross into the penalty area, where it found Bengtson for the header and the seventh minute goal.

Spain pressed and pressed for an equalizer, but one never came, and as the match wore down to the final minutes, and Honduras began feigning injuries, the Spanish began losing their composure and berating the referee. A pair of questionable plays that could have been called penalties surely also added to Spain's frustration.

Sunday's loss, coupled with the team's loss to Japan in their opening game, eliminated Spain from the knockout rounds, while Honduras can reach the quarterfinals with a win or draw against Japan, or a Morocco tie or loss to Spain in the final group match.

In other Olympic results from Sunday:

BRAZIL 3, BELARUS 1

Neymar led the way for gold medal favorites Brazil, setting up two goals and scoring his own on a beautiful free kick to lead the South Americans to victory. Belarus actually opened the scoring, but Brazil responded when Alexandre Pato headed home a Neymar cross. Neymar's free kick gave Brazil the lead for good in the 65th minute.

GREAT BRITAIN 3, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 1 

Ryan Giggs became the oldest player to ever score an Olympic goal while England rallied late behind goals from Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge to post a sorely-needed victory. With the win, Great Britain can secure a quarterfinal place with a win or draw against Uruguay.

EGYPT 1, NEW ZEALAND 1

A pair of first-half goals held up in this Group C encounter as Egypt came away disappointed after creating more chances and having some golden opportunities late in the match to find a winner. Egypt can still reach the quarterfinals with a win against Belarus, while New Zealand's tournament looks finished with only a match against powerhouse Brazil left to play.

MEXICO 2, GABON 0

Giovani Dos Santos came off the bench for Mexico at halftime and quickly showed why he should be starting, scoring a pair of goals to help Mexico win and take control of its group. Dos Santos opened the scoring in the 63rd minute before clinching the victory with a stoppage time penalty kick.

JAPAN 1, MOROCCO 0

The Japanese booked their place in the quarterfinals with their second 1-0 victory of the tournament. Kensuke Nagai delivered an 84th minute game-winner to drop Morocco.

SENEGAL 2, URUGUAY 0

Moussa Konate was the star in a packed Wembley Stadium as his two goals helped Senegal overcome a first-half record on their way to a vital victory over the favored South Americans. Konate converted an easy tap-in finish in the 10th minute, but when defender Abdoulaye Ba was issued a red card for a foul on Luis Suarez in the 30th minute, an Uruguay victory seemed destined. Konate saw differently, finishing off his second goal seven minutes later as the Senegal defense made the lead stand up.

SOUTH KOREA 2, SWITZERLAND 1

In a match that saw no scoring in the first half, there were three goals scored five minutes apart, with South Korea converting their control of the game into a victory. Arsenal striker Park Chu Young opened the scoring for the South Koreans, while Kim Bok-Yung's header in the 57th minute proved to be the difference. 

OLYMPIC STANDINGS

GROUP A

1. Great Britain, 1-0-1, 4 pts, +2 GD

2. Senegal, 1-0-1, 4 pts, +2 GD

3. Uruguay, 1-1-0, 3 pts, -1 GD

4. UAE, 0-2-0, 0 pts, -3 GD

GROUP B

1. Mexico 1-0-1, 4 pts, +2 GD 

2. South Korea, 1-0-1, 4 pts, +1 GD

3. Switzerland, 0-1-1, 1 pt, -1 GD

4. Gabon, 0-1-1, 1 pt, -2 GD

GROUP C

1. Brazil, 2-0-0, 6 pts, + 3 GD

2. Belarus, 1-1-0, 3 points, -1 GD

3. Egypt, 0-1-1, 1 pt, -1 GD

4. New Zealand, 0-1-1, 1 pt, -1 GD

GROUP D

1. Japan, 2-0-0, 6 pts, +2 GD

2. Honduras, 1-0-1, 4 pts, +1 GD

3. Morocco, 0-1-1, 1 point, -1 GD

4. Spain, 0-2-0, 0 points, -2 GD

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What did you think of Sunday's action? Impressed with Great Britain's performance? Stunned to see Spain eliminated? Rooting for Honduras to make a run? Think Mexico can make the final?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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41 Responses to Men’s Olympic Rewind: Honduras eliminates Spain, Brazil cruises, and more

  1. elgringorico says:

    Vamos Honduras!! MLS for the gold medal!

  2. Brett says:

    I’m pulling for Honduras (best of both worlds, CONCACAF represents well and Mexico doesn’t win) but it hurts to know they took our spot.

  3. elgringorico says:

    They didn’t take our spot; we lost it.

  4. bcoug says:

    “… Honduras began feigning injuries, the Spanish began losing their composure and berating the referee … A pair of questionable plays that could have been called penalties ….”

    Exactly.

    Unfortunately, all combined to make this match almost unwatchable by the end. Tuned in with non-soccer fans (not anti, just not fans) and for the last 20 minutes, at least, they were treated to nonsense from all involved. Not a great advertisement for the sport.

  5. Benjamin C. says:

    Spain learned the difficult lesson that the U.S. already knows: do not let a CONCACAF underdog get the lead. They will take “gamesmanship” to a level that is hard to anticpate, and if the ref refuses to do anything about it, it will be a frustrating struggle get back into the match.

  6. Skeeter says:

    Spain acted like someone stole their trophy.. lolz

  7. kfly says:

    ^This.

  8. Colin says:

    “as the match wore down to the final minutes, and Honduras began feigning injuries”

    Honduras was faking injuries throughout the game, not just the final minutes. It was a digusting display that makes a joke out of soccer. I’d be absolutely incensed if I were a Spanish player as well.

  9. Charles says:

    Eventually they will stop the clock during injuries and the amount of injuries at the end of games will drop to almost zero.

  10. FELIXS9 says:

    WHY ARE PEOPLE MAD AT HONDURAS THEY SCORED AND WON. YOU SHOULD REALLY BE MAD AT SPAIN FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO SCORE AND WIN A GAME WITH PLAYER PLAYING IN BIG CLUBS. WELL DONE HONDURAS FOR REPRESENTING CONCACAF AND MLS VERY WELL. HONDURAS PLAYED WITH HEART..

  11. CÉU says:

    The goal of Belarus also was also done by a Brazilian.

  12. AL says:

    …and to think Andy Najar could’ve been watching the games on TV with the rest of the US Team!!!

  13. elgringorico says:

    Question: is there anywhere to watch the highlights of these games?

  14. Judging Amy says:

    haha that’s exactly what I was thinking watching the Spanish players screaming at the refs and even putting their hands on him. the us team gets hosed by central american time wasting antics all the time and yet i’ve never seen americans react the way spain did.

  15. Gnarls says:

    Caps lock off.

  16. giggity says:

    FELIXS9 – Y U NO TURN CAPS LOCK OFF?

  17. Gnarls says:

    Two Concacaf teams in the quarterfinals; who’da thunk?

    Gio Dos Santos seems to hibernate for two years at a time, and then pop up whenever there’s a major tournament. Why don’t Tottenham just sell him? He must have some value to other EPL teams.

  18. Brett says:

    Semantics… But fair enough. The spot they are in would have been our spot if Hamid had stopped that shot.

  19. Mark says:

    I didn’t see the game so I can’t provide any additional context to what Honduras did or didn’t do as far as gamesmanship is concerned, but congrats to them for getting results against a very strong squad that was expected to vie for the gold medal. Nice work.

    On the flip side, it really is awful that the US team isn’t there, but they had every chance and blew it. It must be killing those guys to see Honduras putting themselves into medal contention.

  20. bcoug says:

    Perhaps because they spent large chunks of the match rolling on the ground acting like they’d been hit with a bat?
    That’s not winning with heart, that’s making a mockery of the game.

  21. bcoug says:

    I would bet you could find it on nbcolympics.com, provided you subscribe to an appropriate cable company.

  22. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    lol CONCACAF. It’s hilarious when other countries have to deal with the crap that the US routinely deals with.

  23. Waterlewd says:

    The response from the Spanish to the Hondoras BS should have been to get a goal, not all the gesturing and remonstrating to the referees. Players need to know the referees cannot be pursuaded with such behaivor, so why waste the energy. The Spanish players at all levels seem to have a footballing tactic that attempts to influence the referees, which I think is equally as disgusting as what Honduras was doing.

    Now, I’m a “soccer fan” and I found the entire game dramatic and engrossing. I wished it would have lasted for another 30 mins. It’s unfortunate your buddies weren’t treated to a 5-4 goalfest, if only this one match would have made them super-dooper soccer fans for life. Oh, how that would improve your life. You could amicably argue about 4-4-2s vs. 4-3-3s, discuss the tactics used by West Bromich Albion in their latest upset victory. You could get each other your favorite team scarves for Christmas. You could all get up early on Saturday to find a crappy internet feed of the big game over in Europe. You could dress up your future babies in Messi jerseys. Damn you Honduras!

  24. Nathan says:

    Welcome, Spain, to CONCACAF, soccer.

  25. bcoug says:

    I don’t disagree at all that the Spanish reaction was ridiculous and counter-productive.

    Nobody was looking for a goal-fest, nor were they looking for officiating that wasn’t up to the challenge, Spanish players behaving like entitled brats, or Hondurans throwing themselves to the ground at the slightest provocation.

  26. Russell says:

    I generally root for Spain but I did enjoy seeing them battle and cringe against the same BS the USA constantly faces.

    Welcome to CONCACAF.. haha

  27. Imagine if they had bags filled with urine thrown at them!

  28. Ben says:

    And Europeans will continue to have no idea what it is like to go to Central America and play qualifying games there.

  29. pd says:

    Right, cause he’s the only thing that went wrong in that tournament… Don’t let’s go down that road again…

  30. PD says:

    Or like Brett (see above)

  31. Thebumswillalwayslose says:

    Welcome to CONCACAF, Spain.

    But seriously, while Honduras’ diving and time wasting was annoying, Spain’s complete lack of composure toward the end of the game played right into the Honduran game plan. Maybe Spain isn’t used to being in that position. Maybe they aren’t used to an official swallowing his whistle like that. Whatever it is though, they’re certainly lucky that they were able to keep 11 men on the field at the end of the game. Mata and Munian could have easily been shown red for their reaction to the no call on the PK. Jordi Alba spent as much of the last 5 minutes screaming at the sideline official as he did trying to get into the attack and score a goal.

    Spain can look to the referee if they want, but they can’t ignore the fact that what is arguably the most talented team in the tournament just went 180 minutes plus without producing a goal.

  32. beachbum says:

    it wasn’t Hamid who missed that late goal, it was Johnson

    we lost the spot, and it still hurts. Watching these teams play, I believe we could have competed well

    that we did’nt qualify remains a blemish that won’t go away until these games are over

  33. beachbum says:

    exactly

    welcome to CONCACAF Spain

  34. beachbu says:

    they don’t deal very well do they? very revealing makes me respect our US boys even more

  35. Yeah. like a lot of posters on this page, welcome to CONCACAF spain. At least the central American refs understand what the players are up to… Poor spainards! Vamos Honduras!

  36. Dennis says:

    Notes to Spain: If you don’t score a goal, you won’t win. If the referee makes a bad call, he won’t change it no matter how much you protest. You can’t control the other team’s gamesmanship and time-wasting. Some referees seemingly go out of their way to rule against teams that complain too much.

  37. GW says:

    This is all well and good until the US beats Honduras 1-0 and everyone will bitch and moan about why we don’t beat up more on our weak sister CONCACAF teams and how the US should just cruise through qualifying using only their second string players.

  38. Tim F. says:

    I saw bunch of the games on Sunday; most of it was well played and entertaining.

  39. jai_brooklyn says:

    Fantastic!

  40. Jake says:

    3 MLSers combine on the goal for Honduras….awesome