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.
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
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
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
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
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.