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NZ soccer coach sat wonderstruck as Brazil trounced his team 3-0

India TV News Desk 02 Aug 2012, 14:00:48 PM IST
India TV News Desk
Newcastle (England), Aug 2:  Knowing that there was little New Zealand could do to avoid the 3-0 defeat to Brazil and the elimination from the men's Olympic football tournament on Wednesday, coach Neil Emblen just sat down and enjoyed watching the Brazilian players do their thing.

Emblen said he took the time to watch and try to learn from the Brazilian team which is considered as one of the main favorites to win the gold medal at the London Games.

"We were on the bench admiring how they play, their moving and passing," Emblen said. "You just see how their players work, we just got to learn from this experience. Not only they are technically good but they work hard as well."

New Zealand needed to win the final group-stage match to have a chance of advancing but it was outplayed from the start at St. James Park, getting lucky to allow only three goals against a Brazilian team which rested nearly half of its regular starters because it had already secured a quarterfinal spot in advance.

"We've been beaten by a fantastic football team which will probably win the gold medal," Emblen said.

New Zealand conceded two goals in the first half and then another in the second. Its only significant opportunity was an 86th-minute shot by Michael McGlinchey.

Brazil dominated even though it played a man down from the 76th because midfielder Alex Sandro was sent off with consecutive yellow cards.

"We were expecting it, they are world-class players and they are going to play like that," New Zealand goalkeeper Michael O'Keeffe said. "We tried our best."

Trying to win its first gold in football, Brazil is one of the few team with its top players at the London Games, including Neymar, Oscar, Thiago Silva and Marcelo. It will play Honduras in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

"It was a great lesson for us as a nation to play against these boys," said Emblen, singling out Real Madrid left back Marcelo for praise.

"I admired watching Marcelo today, he does his job defensively brilliantly," Emblen said. "Everybody knows what he is going to do but no one can stop him. He was fantastic for Brazil today, he's just an amazing player."

New Zealand leaves the competition after scoring only one goal and unable to win its first match in an Olympic or World Cup tournament. This is the team's second consecutive time participating in the Olympics. It has also played in two World Cups, in 1982 and 2010.

Emblen said better luck in the opener against Belarus could have given New Zealand a chance to advance to the second round. New Zealand finished Group C in last place with one point. Brazil won it with nine points, five more than Egypt and six more than Belarus.

"It was a disappointing result against Belarus," he said. "We could be coming into this game already on four points."

Still, he said the team has to be proud of their overall performance.

"The whole experience has been fantastic," he said. "The players proved they can compete on the world stage."