Brazil tops Denmark to avoid elimination in men's soccer
Reigning gold-medallist Mexico ousted in group stage
Brazil finally found its scoring touch in the men's soccer tournament at the Olympics.
The host country advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Denmark 4-0 Wednesday, avoiding another embarrassing elimination in front of the home fans.
Gabigol scored twice and Gabriel Jesus and Luan added the others, as Brazil continues its quest for its firs Olympic gold medal in soccer.
The Brazilians will next play Colombia on Saturday in Sao Paulo.
Brazil had been held to scoreless draws in its first two group games and needed a victory to guarantee a spot in the knockout round. It ended up first in Group A with five points, one more than Denmark, which also advanced and will play Nigeria in Salvador. South Africa and Iraq were eliminated after a 1-1 draw in Sao Paulo.
The convincing victory also helped Brazil regain the support of the local fans, who had been disappointed by lacklustre performances and had loudly jeered the team in the games against South Africa and Iraq.
The crowd of more than 40,000 fans was behind the team from the start in Salvador and chanted "The champion is back" during parts of the game.
Led by Neymar, Brazil arrived as the main favourite to win the Olympic tournament and finally breakthrough with the gold medal, which is the only trophy the five-time world champions haven't won in soccer.
Neymar, who had been heckled by some fans after struggling in the first two games, played better and was much more involved in the game. Gabigol and Gabriel Jesus, the 19-year-old forwards touted as some of Latin America's most promising players, also improved and finally found the net.
Brazil was in danger of another humiliating elimination just two years after the 7-1 loss to Germany at its home World Cup. The senior team also disappointed at the Copa America two months ago, failing to advance from the group stage of the continental competition.
Argentina, Mexico ousted in group stage
There won't be a third soccer gold medal for Argentina. Nor a second for defending Olympic champion Mexico.
The traditional powers were eliminated early from the men's Olympic tournament, dealing another blow to Argentine soccer following the senior team's loss in the Copa America final in June and the ongoing crisis enveloping the sport at home.
Playing without any of its biggest stars, Argentina needed a win against Honduras but was held to a 1-1 draw at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia.
Honduras advanced along with Portugal, who won Group D after a 1-1 draw against last-place Algeria in Belo Horizonte. Honduras and Argentina finished with four points each, but Honduras had the edge on goal difference.
Striker Antony Lozano scored for Honduras from the penalty spot in the 75th minute and Mauricio Martinez equalized for Argentina on a free kick during second-half injury time.
Both teams missed penalties when the match was scoreless. A shot by Honduras captain Bryan Acosta was saved by Argentina goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli just before halftime; Argentina playmaker Angel Correa hit the post in the 55th.
Mexico, which upset Brazil in the final of the 2012 London Games, failed to advance after a 1-0 loss to South Korea in Brasilia. The Mexicans needed a victory to reach the quarterfinals.
Germany, Colombia advance to quarter-finals
Germany moved on from Group C after routing Fiji 10-0 with five goals by Nils Petersen and three by Maximilian Meyer at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, the same place where the country's senior team embarrassed Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup. Fiji had already lost 5-1 to Mexico and 8-0 to South Korea.
Germany will play in the quarterfinals against Portugal in Brasilia, while Honduras will face South Korea in Belo Horizonte.
All quarterfinal matches will be on Saturday.
By The Associated Press