After two matches in which they failed to score a single goal, Brazil’s men’s soccer team was on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism heading into their group stage finale against Denmark Wednesday night. With Neymar Jr. and Gabriel Barbosa, nicknamed “Gabigol” for his ability to put the ball into the back of the net, the Brazilians weren’t expecting to see their team struggle as they did in scoreless draws against South Africa and Iraq.
That all changed against the Danes, as Gabriel Barbosa got the hosts onto the scoreboard in the 26th minute. From there Brazil would go on to score three more times, beating Denmark 4-0 to win Group A and clinch a spot in the knockout stage. Denmark also managed to go through, with Iraq and South Africa playing to a 1-1 draw keeping the Danes in second place on four points.
In the quarterfinal round Brazil will take on South American rival Colombia, while Denmark draws Group B winner Nigeria.
While Brazil managed to shake out of its funk Wednesday, the two teams whose nations combined to win the last three men’s soccer gold medals are headed home. Argentina, Brazil’s bitter rivals, finished tied for second in Group D with Honduras but inferior goal differential means that the gold medalists in 2004 and 2008 failed to advance. The 2012 gold medalists are also out, with Mexico finishing third in Group C behind South Korea and Germany.
Germany posted the high score of the day, as they routed Fiji 10-0 with Nils Petersen responsible for five of the goals. Next up for Germany is Group D winner Portugal, with South Korea facing Honduras in the quarterfinals.