NZ Herald Olympics Banner

Brazil beats Japan in final warmup ahead of Olympics

GOIANIA, Brazil (AP) " Striker Gabriel and defender Marquinhos scored a goal each as Brazil defeated Japan 2-0 on Saturday in its final warmup match ahead of the Rio Games.

The friendly was held at the Serra Dourada Stadium.

Brazil, seeking its first gold medal in soccer, makes its Olympic debut on Thursday against South Africa in Brasilia. Iraq and Denmark are the other two teams in Group A.

The Olympic gold medal is the only trophy Brazil has never won in soccer. It was runner-up three times, including in London four years ago after a team led by Neymar lost the final to Mexico. It finished with the bronze twice.

The men's Olympic tournament is played with 16 teams, and the top two in each of the four groups advance to the quarterfinals.

Neymar is one of the biggest stars of the Rio Games in the soccer tournament, which is played mostly with under-23 squads. He was one of the three over-23 players each nation was allowed to add to its roster. The other two were 38-year-old Palmeiras goalkeeper Fernando Prass and 28-year-old Beijing Guoan midfielder Renato Augusto, who have far less international experience than the Barcelona striker.

On Saturday, Uilson replaced Prass who had been listed as doubtful to play because of a right elbow injury that kept him from practicing as Brazil prepared at its training camp in the city of Teresopolis in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Teams were not required to release their players to the Olympic tournament, but Neymar reached a deal with Barcelona to skip the Copa America and join the hosts at the Rio Games.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 30 Sep 2016 02:47:51 Processing Time: 514ms