Olympics | SPORTS

Safety, Priority For Host

Tight security has been the order of the day for Team Fiji men’s football team in Salvador, Brazil. Counting down to their Olympic Games opener against South Korea, the Fijians
03 Aug 2016 11:27
Safety, Priority For Host
Fiji men’s football team at their hotel in Salvador, Brazil.

Tight security has been the order of the day for Team Fiji men’s football team in Salvador, Brazil.

Counting down to their Olympic Games opener against South Korea, the Fijians are grateful to the Brazilian military for ensuring their safety.

Midfielder Joseph Turagabeci said their bus is well protected by the military when they go out for their training sessions.

“We have eight on the motorbike who literally stops the traffic so that we could get from point A to point B as smoothly and safely as possible without stopping,” he said.

“It’s truly amazing how these guys do their jobs! True professionals! Plus we have two big vans that also protect the bus, that position themselves at the back and they are all armed with weapons.”

GROUP C PREVIEW

Germany will be seen as comfortable favourites to top Group C, but their poor Olympic record to date, coupled with some strong opposition, could see some surprise results thrown up. This is how they are rated with Fox Sports

Fiji

Fijian football is going through a purple patch. Their maiden appearance at an Olympic Games was preceded by their debut at the FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea the month before the Rio Games.

Their senior team has also started its qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia well, but the Olympic Games will nevertheless represent a seemingly insurmountable task for the young Fiji side.

Together with them in Group C are three other established footballing nations, including current world champions Germany, and it would be a major surprise if they were to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Germany 

Despite being a relative powerhouse of international football, Germany have never won an Olympic gold medal. Their best performance came at the 1988 Games in South Korea, where they picked up a bronze.

There will be a lot of expectation on the young team heading to Rio, with the senior side having won the World Cup in Brazil two years ago. Their squad is packed with talent, with every one of their 18-man squad plying their trade for sides in the top-flight division of either Germany or England.

They are considered comfortable favourites to top Group C and will be seen as a major contender to take home the nation’s first Olympic football gold medal.

Korea Republic

South Korea arrive in Rio full of confidence following a very impressive qualifying campaign in the form of the Asian Football Confederation U23 Championship in Qatar.

They looked dominant all the way until the final against Japan, in which they took a 2-0 lead before falling to a dramatic 3-2 loss.

The Koreans’ best performance in the Olympics to date came at the most last Games in London, where they grabbed the silver medal. Kwon Changhoon has underlined the squad’s confidence by boldly stating they were aiming for another medal this time around.

Mexico

Despite entering the Rio Olympics as the reigning gold medal winners, Mexico will not be considered favourites to top Group C ahead of a strong German side.

The Mexican side was victorious in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, beating Canada 2-0 in the final, but showed some wobbly performances along the way with narrow wins against Honduras and minnows Haiti, and will need to vastly up their game to emerge from a tough-looking group.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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