Brazil's men go into their opening game against Egypt at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff today confident they can end the long wait for an Olympic gold medal, the only significant competition the nation has never won.
The Brazil coach, Mano Menezes, says this time Brazil are "better prepared" and added that the team is likely to remain unchanged from the 2-0 victory over Britain in the recent warm-up with the exception of goalkeeper Rafael, who was dropped from the squad because of an elbow injury sustained in practice on Monday. The reserve, Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto, will replace Rafael, making his national team debut on Thursday.
Egypt's coach, Hany Ramzy, believes his country's first appearance in the Olympic tournament since 1992 has an added significance in helping to unite the country following the election of president Mohammed Morsi. In addition, football in Egypt was suspended in February after more than 70 fans of Al Masry and Al-Ahly were killed after a game in Port Said.
"For us it's a positive for us to be at these Olympics," said Ramzy. "We have to show to the world that even if we have had trouble in our country we are still proud to play for our country and we can show football in Egypt is still alive. We will show the world we will fight for our pride."
The Spain striker Iker Muniain is likely to miss the team's first Olympic match because of a leg injury. The team doctor, Jorge Guillen, recommended that Muniain sits out the Group D game against Japan today. Initially he thought the forward had torn a muscle in his thigh, but Guillen now says it looks more like a strain.
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