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September 23, 2000
Big guns Brazil, Nigeria bite the dust
Pre-tournament favourites Brazil and Italy bowed out of the medal race in the Olympic football tournament, beaten in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
South American giant Brazil were beaten 2-1 by a gallant and never-say-die nine man Cameroon side after extra-time, in a thriller at the Brisbane Cricket Ground while Italy lost 1-0 to Spain in a tough encounter at the Sydney Football Stadium.
In the other quarter-finals, Chile thrashed defending Olympic champions Nigeria 4-1 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the United States downed Japan 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out in Adelaide, after the score was tied at 2-2 after extra-time.
Spain will now meet the US in a semi-final at the Sydney Football Stadium on Tuesday with the other being Chile against Cameroon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, also Tuesday.
Cameroon's 2-1 over Brazil deep into extra-time was extra special. The African battlers had two players sent off - Geremi Njitap Fotso (75th) and Aaron Nguimbat (92nd) but still stormed home in magnificent fashion. Cameroon's goals were scored by Patrick Mboma (17th) and Modeste Mbami (113rd) with Ronaldinho (94th) netting Brazil's solo goal.
Spain progressed through a glory goal in the 86th minute scored by substitute Gabri following some good leadup work by his Barcelona teammate Xavi. This was a tough European clash where both defences dominated for most of the action.
Chile made light work of defending Olympic champion Nigeria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with Chile's goals coming from Pablo Contreas (17th), Ivan Zamorano (18th), Reinaldo Navia (42nd) and Rodrigo Tello (65th). Victor Agali (76th) scored Nigeria's consolation. This resounding win by Chile now has the other remaining teams in the tournament looking over their shoulders.
It was a day when dreams came true for the US, when it swept into the semi-finals by downing Japan 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out after the teams were locked at 2-2 after extra-time.
Josh Wolff (68th) and Pete Vagenas (90th) scored for the US while Atsushi Yanagisawa (30th) and Naohiro Takahara (72nd) netted for Japan.
Hidetoshi Nakata missed the vital penalty for Japan in the penalty shoot-out. This ended a great day of Olympic football.
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