RIO DE JANEIRO: Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry became the Olympics’ top scorer as Germany ended Portugal’s hopes of adding gold to a glorious 2016 with a 4-0 thrashing to reach the Rio 2016 semi-finals on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Victory takes Germany one step closer to a mouthwatering rematch with hosts Brazil in next Saturday’s final two years on from smashing the five-time world champions 7-1 on home soil at the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil resumes their quest for a maiden football gold medal in a South American grudge match with Colombia in Sao Paulo later on Saturday.
Honduras await the winners in the semi-final after stunning South Korea 1-0 thanks to Alberth Elis’s brilliantly taken solitary goal decided their clash in Belo Horizonte.
Next up for Germany is a semi-final with Nigeria in Salvador on Wednesday after the Africans overcame off-field squabbles over unpaid allowances to beat Denmark 2-0 thanks to goals from Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel and Aminu Umar.
“I’m not surprised. I have said from the beginning with more games the better we will get as a team,” said Gnabry.
“Horst (Hrubesch) is a super coach. He has prepared us very well.
“His tactics are very good and you can see he believes in us.”
The world champions’ greater experience told with the Portuguese squad ravaged by clubs not releasing players for the Games and a number of their stars from the under-21s having gone onto win Euro 2016 with the senior side in France last month.
Germany also exacted revenge for a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Portugal in last year’s under-21 European championships.
“After losing 4-0, it is absurd to mention that we fulfilled the task, but in several days, when we see what we did, perhaps we (will) see that we have done good work,” said Portugal boss Rui Jorge.
Gnabry has been a player reborn in Brazil after a couple of years blighted by injury and lack of first-team opportunities at Arsenal.
In women’s quarterfinals, Sweden stunned the US on penalties, 4-3, while Germany beat China (1-0), Canada defeated France (1-0), and Brazil survived Australia also on penalties, 7-6.