Brazil was held to a scoreless draw by a tenacious South Africa side late Tuesday but comfortably won Group E and will face Australia in Friday’s quarterfinal. The Brazilians were eliminated from last summer’s World Cup in the Round of 16 by Australia. South Africa earned a point but will leave the Olympics as the only one of 12 sides not to score a goal at the tournament.
A raucous crowd at Amazonia Arena clamored for Marta, but with a spot in the quarterfinals already secured the five-time World Player of the Year opened on the bench next to other veterans Cristiane and Formiga. The 30-year old entered and played the second half but was unable to help Brazil beat the well-organized South African defense.
Brazil won the silver medal in 2004 and 2008, but have not won a knockout match at an Olympics or World Cup since defeating Germany in the 2008 Olympic semifinals.
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