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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | MEN'S SOCCER

Brazil Ambushed by Upstart Japan, 1-0

July 22, 1996

Brazil's place in the soccer world is without question. Its future in the Olympics is up for debate.

The country that has produced four World Cup champions saw its 23-and-under Olympic team lose, 1-0, to Japan in an opening-round match before 46,713 at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Teruyoshi Ito got the soccer equivalent of a basketball breakaway dunk, scoring in the 72nd minute on a Brazilian mistake.

Brazilian defender Aldair was attempting to chest the ball to goalkeeper Dida. Instead, he collided with him, leaving the ball free and giving Ito the easy shot.

Japan then survived a flurry of close-in shots by the Brazilians to pull off one of the early surprises of the soccer competition--and secure the biggest victory in Japan's soccer history. When the game was over, the small number of Japanese flags waved proudly as the Brazilian flags hung limp and hidden.

Japan's defense continually frustrated the Brazilians. At the same time, Brazil looked like a team that hadn't played together for very long, not one that has practiced together since last November.

Carlos Roberto attempted a pair of 40-yard free kicks in the 28th and 30th minutes, but each was snatched up by Japan's goalkeeper, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi.

Brazil had a goal in its sights in the 31st minute, but Juninho's kick from five yards was smothered by Kawaguchi in front of the left goal post. Juninho had a free kick in the 50th minute, but it sailed left of the net.

In other matches: Though outshot, 25-8, South Korea held off Ghana and Yoon Jong-hwan scored on a penalty kick in the 41st minute for a 1-0 victory before 45,946 at Washington, D.C. . . . Nwankwo Kanu scored in the 72nd minute as Nigeria ruined Hungary's first Olympic soccer match in 24 years by winning 1-0 at Orlando, Fla.

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