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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Sport-By-Sport Report : SOCCER

Brazil Bounces Back, but Italy Shown Door

July 24, 1996

Brazil polished its tarnished Olympic soccer image Tuesday night and kept its medal hopes aglow, beating Hungary, 3-1, at Miami on second-half goals by Juninho and Bebeto.

It was more than merely a victory for Brazil. The 23-and-under team was harshly criticized in its homeland for its loss to Japan on Sunday. Players were seen in practice Monday hanging their heads trying to come to grips with their loss.

Coach Mario Zagallo reportedly made his team watch all 90 minutes of the loss.

Against Hungary, Juninho took a cross from Flavio Conceicao in the 61st minute and shot from inside the box, breaking a 1-1 tie. Bebeto added his score in the 84th minute, manuevering around Hungary's Zoltan Peto for the right-footed score.

Brazil (1-1 Group D) picked up three points for the victory. Hungary (0-2 Group D) was trying to survive in its first Olympic competition since 1972.

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Christian Sabah scored twice and Ghana eliminated perennial powerhouse Italy from the tournament in a hot-tempered, foul-filled game at Washington.

Sabah sent in blistering shots from 23 and 20 yards as the 1992 bronze medalists capitalized on a second-half ejection in a 3-2 victory.

The result kept Ghana (1-1) in contention for one of the two quarterfinal berths from Group C. It also piled more misery on soccer-mad Italy (0-2).

In other men's games, Mexico (1-0-1) and South Korea (1-0-1) played to a scoreless tie at Birmingham, Ala. Nigeria (2-0) posted a 2-0 victory over Japan (1-1) and is almost certain of making the last eight.

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In women's games, Denmark (0-2) endured a 5-1 pounding from China (2-0) at Miami. . . . Norway (1-0-1) put its gold medal ambitions back on track with a 3-2 victory over Germany (1-1) at Washington. . . . Brazil (1-0-1) posted a 2-0 victory over Japan (0-2) at Birmingham.

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