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Group C

Preview | Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D


Belarus

Despite a record of two wins and three defeats, Belarus claimed an unlikely third place at last summer's European U-21 Championship to qualify for London 2012. Unfortunately for them, star midfielder Mikhail Sivakov will not be in London but will instead be performing for Zulte Waregem in Belgium. Preparation for the tournament has been poor, with a winless Toulon tournament followed by defeat to Japan earlier this month. Qualification from the group is the aim and is a real possibility - Group C appears the weakest of the four.

Key Man: Sergei Kornilenko (Krylia Sovetov) - The experienced striker is the only foreign-based player in the squad and boasts a healthy international scoring record. A former Blackpool loanee, he must help to guide an inexperienced supporting cast.

Brazil

Brazil come into the tournament bearing the weight of a nation's expectation on their shoulders. A gold medal is simply the only acceptable outcome for the Selecao as they build towards the 2014 World Cup on home soil. A precociously talented attacking unit, fronted by the effervescent Neymar, will grab the headlines, but the terrific defensive spine of Rafael Cabral, Thiago Silva and Sandro will be just as important to hopes of success. Keep an eye on the fine work of Romulo, whose industry and ball retention too often slip under the radar, in midfield.

Key Man: Oscar (Internacional) - If Neymar and his illustrious partners in crime are to fire, the highly sought-after No. 10 will be required to supply the ammunition, having been picked ahead of Ganso.

Egypt

The third best of the African sides, according to last December's qualifiers, Egypt's U-23 side have played an enormous number of games (15 in 2012 alone) in the build-up to the Olympics as they look to create familiarity amongst the squad. Results have been mixed, but the added time spent together could be important in a weak group in which all four sides will be looking to progress. Watch for the prolific striker Ernad Moteab, who will be the team's primary source of goals.

Key Man: Mohamed Aboutrika (Al-Ahly) - Now 33, set-piece specialist midfielder Aboutrika is a five-time Egyptian Player of the Year and has twice helped guide his country to African Nations Cup glory.

New Zealand

To say that New Zealand's Oceania qualification section was easy would be somewhat of an understatement, but Neil Emblen's side return to attempt to improve upon 2008's tally of one Olympic point. A recent draw with Japan looked encouraging, but was followed by comfortable defeats to South Korea and UAE. New Zealand will believe they can progress, but they will need to pull off a major shock in order to reach the last eight.

Key Man: Ryan Nelsen (QPR) - The chances are that New Zealand will have to do a lot of defending in the coming weeks, and the experienced Nelsen must organise a youthful back line.

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