By Andrew Downie
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Rampant Germany hammered Portugal 4-0 to reach the semi-finals of the men’s Olympic football tournament on Saturday where they will be joined by Nigeria and Honduras. The Nigerians, champions in 1996, beat Denmark 2-0, while Honduras were outplayed but still overcame South Korea 1-0.
Germany willl face Nigeria in the semis, while Honduras will meet the winners of the match between hosts Brazil and Colombia, who play later on Saturday.
Serge Gnabry put the Germans ahead with an angled strike just before halftime and Matthias Ginter added a second with a commanding header from a corner 12 minutes into the second half. Davie Selke got the third in the 75th with a goal that was almost identical to the first before substitute Philipp Max put the icing on the cake when he ended a sweeping move with a neat finish into the top corner three minutes from time. The result was payback for Portugal’s 5-0 hammering of Germany in the European under-21 championship semis last year. Germany will face Nigeria in Sao Paulo on Wednesday after the Africans scored in each half to beat Denmark. Obi John Mikel put Nigeria ahead after 16 minutes when he slotted home from the edge of the six-yard box after Imoh Ezekiel had set him up.
Aminu Umar doubled their lead with a glancing header that may have come off his shoulder from a corner after 58 minutes.Honduras, seeking their first ever medal at football in the Olympics, were inferior to a South Korea side that had 16 shots, compared to six for their opponents, but it was the Central American side who got the only goal after 59 minutes.
The speedy Romell Quioto ran the length of the field before feeding Alberth Elis who coolly side-footed home from 15 metres.
Korea pushed frantically for an equaliser, as Honduras tried to kill the game on the break, but they could not score.
The Olympic tournament is restricted to under-23 teams with three overage players allowed per side.
Germany have never won the title as a unified nation although communist East Germany won gold in 1976.
(Editing by Susanna Twidale and Ken Ferris)