The women started off the Olympic soccer tournament yesterday with a bang (Canada's 19 second goal against Australia was particularly notable and the USWNT dispatched New Zealand 2-0 with a clinical display) and today the men get going.
While the women's tournament is a full roster event, the men have a restricted roster. The Olympics for men is an Under-23 tournament but each team is allowed to have three over-aged players. Because the tournament is not on the FIFA calendar, getting players released is always a balancing act between the federations and clubs. Brazil went with Striker Neymar, Midfielder Renato Augusto and Goalkeeper Fernando Prass to fill out what is one of the most anticipated rosters of this Olympic games. Brazil is a country that has won everything in international soccer multiple times, except an Olympic Gold Medal, they have three silver medals 1984 (lost to France), 1988 (Soviet Union) and 2012 (Mexico). That is the one honor that has eluded the nation and they want nothing else out of hosting the Olympics than to rectify that oversight.
The USMNT failed to qualify for the event after losing a home and home playoff series against Colombia for the last spot in Brazil. Mexico and Honduras are representing CONCACAF. Mexico are the defending champions having won the Gold Medal in London. Mexico's over-aged players are Striker Oribe Peralta, Defender Jorge Torres Nilo and Goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. The Houston Dynamo's Designated Player Erick "Cubo" Torres is also on the team. Mexico opens their tournament against Germany in one of the most anticipated matches of the opening rounds. Germany's three over-aged players are the Bender twins, Lars and Sven, both midfielders and Striker Nils Petersen.
While the women's tournament is a 12 team tournament with eight teams making the quarterfinals, the men's tournament is a 16 team tournament where only the top two in each group advance to the quarterfinals. This makes the eight opening games played today crucial for positioning to advance.
How to Watch, Soccer at the Olympics:
(Editor's note - Ali Adnan plays for Iraq so Dave is very excited)
Mexico v Germany
Thursday, 1 PM
Location: Fonte Nova Arena, Salvador
Streaming: Men's Soccer Match 4
NBC Sports Network is going to be your go-to TV channel for Olympic Soccer broadcasts from Brazil, along with to a lesser extent the USA Network. In addition to the TV channels, the NBC Sports App will have all the games and NBCOlympics.com will also have streams. Games are going to be played concurrently during the entire soccer competition, so NBC Sports Network will not be able to show every game. Here is the full schedule: http://www.nbcolympics.com/live-stream-schedule/soccer
The lead commentator for NBC will again be a very familiar voice as Arlo White, who also did the London 2012 Soccer tournament for NBC, enjoys his second consecutive Olympic assignment.
Other Notable Olympic broadcasts today:
It's Day -1 for the Olympics and that means only soccer again today. With 8 games over 11 hours, get your double screens ready. There is a rest day for soccer tomorrow while the Opening Ceremony takes center stage.