It was a tale of mixed fortunes for host nation Brazil, who are still searching for their first win and goal, as Nigeria became the first team to secure a spot in the quarter-finals of the men’s football event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, after they beat Sweden 1-0 in Group B on Sunday in Manaus.
AS Roma forward Sadiq Umar scored a first-half winner for the African champions, who won gold and silver at Atlanta ’96 and Beijing ’08 respectively, to help them scale through after winning their first two group games at the event.
Colombia, who drew 2-2 with Sweden and Japan respectively are second in Group B.
But Brazil, led by Barcelona forward Neymar, could not find a way past their stubborn Group A rivals Iraq, who held them to a 0-0 draw in Brasilia. It is Brazil’s second goalless draw of the tournament after they drew blank against South Africa on Thursday.
Brazil are desperate to claim the one football prize that has so far eluded them: Olympic gold. However, they were jeered by an impatient home crowd of more than 60,000 after failing to beat Iraq.
Brazil had 20 shots at goal, but only managed six on target as the Asian side held on in their second Group A fixture.
“We need to apologise to the fans, to the people,” Brazil coach Rogerio Micale was quoted as saying by BBC. “As the time passes and we can’t score, the anxiety increases, and in this situation it’s easier to make mistakes.”
Iraq coach Abdulghani Alghazali said, “It’s a historic day for Iraq to be able to draw against Brazil at its home. It’s a great achievement for Iraqi football.”
Denmark top the group with four points after Robert Skov’s 69th-minute winner gave them a 1-0 victory over South Africa.
Defending Olympic champions Mexico recorded a 5-1 win over bottom side Fiji, who conceded eight against South Korea in their opening game.
Erick Gutierrez scored four second-half goals as the Mexicans came from behind to beat the minnows in Salvador.
Fiji held a shock half-time lead thanks to Roy Krishna’s header. But Mexico, who drew 2-2 with Germany last time out, were impressive in the second half, particularly Gutierrez.
Mexico are second in Group C, level on four points with South Korea after they were pegged back by Serge Gnabry’s late equaliser. Germany are third in the table on two points.
In Group D, Portugal continued their 100 per cent start with a 2-1 win over Honduras in Rio. Alberth Elis gave Honduras a first-minute lead before goals by Tobias Figueiredo and Goncalo Paciencia earned Portugal the points.
They beat Argentina 2-0 in their opening game. Argentina knocked Algeria out of the Olympic football competition with a 2-1 win over the North African team.
Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa scored and set up Jonathan Calleri’s winner. Both teams finished the game with 10 men after Argentina captain Victor Cuesta and Ayoub Abdellaoui were sent off.