Brazil's place in the soccer world is without question. Its future in the Olympics is up for debate.
The country that has produced four World Cup champions saw its 23-and-under team lose 1-0 to Japan on Sunday in an opening-round match before 46,713 at the Orange Bowl. Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo could offer no excuse, but he did admit shock.
"I'm not used to losing," Zagallo said.
Teruyoshi Ito got the soccer equivalent of a basketball breakaway slam dunk, scoring in the 72nd minute on a Brazilian mistake. Defender Aldair was attempting to chest the ball to goalkeeper Dida. Instead, he collided with the goalie, leaving the ball free and giving Ito the easy shot.
"I never even dreamed of scoring the winning goal against the No. 1 team in the world during the Olympics," said Ito, whose team survived a flurry of close-in shots. "It's beyond my imagination."
Star forward Bebeto said Brazil will rebound. "This defeat is like a lesson to us," he said.
NIGERIA 1, HUNGARY 0: As Hungary baked in merciless 90-degree weather, Nigeria got stronger, faster and sharper.
And finally, showing glimpses of the play that helped it reach the second round of the 1994 World Cup, Nigeria got a spectacular goal from captain Nwankwo Kanu in the 76th minute before 25,303 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Nigeria's goal punctuated a dramatic sequence of attacking moves by the team's experienced international players and gave the nation a three-point cushion in a group that includes Brazil and Japan.
With a crafty pass at the top of the box, the 6-foot-4 Kanu, who plays for Ajax in the Dutch first division, knocked the ball to forward Daniel Amokachi. With Hungarian defenders converging, Amokachi flicked on a "no-look" return pass to Kanu, who blasted into the goal past the hands of goalkeeper Lajos Szucs.
Right wing Tijani Babangida and right-midfielder Mobi Obaraku continuosly attacked Hungary with a number of one-two short touching plays, and when they could not dribble around them, they simply ran past them.
SOUTH KOREA 1, GHANA 0: Though outshot 25 to 8, the South Koreans won their first Olympic game since the Korean War when Yoon Jong-hwan netted a penalty in the 41st minute at RFK Stadium in Washington.
_ Staff Writer Roger Mills contributed to this report.
Spain vs. France
WHEN / WHERE: 7 tonight, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando.
TICKETS: $30, $25, $20 at Ticketmaster outlets or call (407) 839-3900, or (813) 287-8844.
KEY PLAYERS: Spain _ Ivan de La Pena M/F, Raul Blanco F, Santiago Sanchez D / M, Oscar Garcia M / F; France _ Patrick Vieira M / F, Claude Makelele M, Florian Maurice F.
PREDICTION: This one should be a high-scoring affair with at least five goals and as many yellow cards. France 3, Spain 2.
_ ROGER MILLS