Olympic Preview: Group D, Day 2

Sunday 10 August 2008 (all times Beijing)
17:00 Cameroon - Honduras
19:45 Italy - South Korea

Cameroon - Honduras

Honduras were the first side to concede a goal in these Games as they shipped a strike to Italy 41 minutes in. Sadly for them, things were to get little better as they eventually lost out 3-0.

Okay, two of those goals against were penalties, but nonehtless the scoreline reflected the balance of play well enough. The hope now will be that, with the group favourites out of the way, Honduras can improve.

They're going to have to, for while Cameroon were sometimes careless against the ROK they showed at times that they have the ability to progress.

A late equaliser from Georges Mandjeck saved the Lions' blushes in that fixture, but they know that three points from this one could potentially see them through, particularly if they rack up an impressive "goals for" tally. Expect to see plenty of attack, then, from two sides with little to lose.

Players to watch: 'Keeper Kevin Hernandez of CD Victoria was a busy man against Itayly, and while he failed to save two penalties he did not by any means disgrace himself. He may be key once more. Cameroon really need Gustave Bebbe to step up to the plate up front and find the net: either that or Christian Bekamenga may be drafted in to start.

Italy - Republic of Korea

As Honduras conceded first, Italy scored first. Sebastian Giovinco did the honours, and what honours they were: a delicious 25-yarder capped a memorable first half performance for the little Juventus star, and it was his name that joined Leo Messi's on the back pages the morning after matchday.

If he can perform has as well against South Korea as he did against Honduras then Park Sung-Hwa's men must worry. They were perhaps lucky to escape with a point against Cameroon after being up against it for much of the encounter, but they deserve credit for opening the scoring in that game.

Park Chu-Young of FC Seoul managed the first goal and his contribution was, while more muted than Giovinco's, no less vital for that: hopes may be stores in such audacious attackers for this fixture, too.

But Italy, far more than co-favourites Argentina and Brazil, were the team on day one that really gave off the aura of victors. Granted this was partially due to the standard of opposition, but it was also perhaps indicative of a squad of hungry young men, many of whom have yet to get a chance with the Azzurri's senior squad, looking to make names for themselves.

Giovinco certainly managed it. Who will be next to knock on Marcelo Lippi's door?

Players to watch: Italian eyes fell on Sebastian Giovinco in the first game, not just due to his amazing goal but also his contribution in attack. He and midfielder Luca Cigarini may be the ones to watch, the latter for his inventive streak. The Koreans have the influence of Lee Keun-Ho in attack: he links play up brilliantly with his dribbling and sprinting and may look to punish Italy on the break if the Azzurrini grow too adventurous, as uncharacteristic as that is.

Olympic Preview: Group D, Day 2 Reviewed by admin Ucop on 12:52 AM Rating: 5

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