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Workers' Stadium, Beijing

Last night I indulged an Olympic guilty pleasure. It was hot and sweaty, kept me up very late and involved lots of Brazilians. I knew it was wrong but I couldn't help it.

The men's football semi-final between defending champions Argentina and their arch-rivals Brazil was like nothing else I've witnessed at these Olympics. In fact, it was like nothing else I've witnessed full stop.

Before I continue I should state I'm not sure football - or certainly some of the players involved - should really be here. Having earlier questioned tennis's place in the Olympics, any other position would smack of bias.

The match was a cracker. Tense and tight in the first half, Argentina poached two quick goals at the start of the second. They then survived a Brazilian rally, before killing the game off with a third from the penalty spot. The team in gold ended the game in disarray, while the team in blue and white left dreaming of gold.

Continue reading "Latin fancy lights my fire"

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I think my wife might be a secret member of the Communist Party of China: like them, she just doesn't get why anybody would want to play a sport they'll never be any good at.

Sunday football makes about as much sense to her as Piers Morgan's career does to me and grass-roots sport does to the Chinese authorities.

It seems in this country, there's elite sport and there's getting sweaty for no sane reason - and not much in between.

Which might explain why China's population of 1.3bn will produce enough divers, gymnasts and weightlifters to win the Olympic medal table - but not enough footballers to beat Belgium, at home.


Continue reading "Why China needs more Dog & Ducks"

Argentina's Carlos Tevez scores the winning goal in the 2004 Olympic football final in front of a half-empty stadium

Continue reading "Olympic countdown - 23 days - Beautiful game"

Welcome to our Olympics and Paralympics blog, which we are launching as the countdown to the 2008 Games begins in earnest.

Wednesday marks exactly 100 days to go to the 8 August opening ceremony (though oddly enough the football tournament starts two days earlier).

Writers from across BBC Sport, Radio 5Live, BBC London and BBC News will bring you the inside track on all 28 Olympic sports, as well as the Games themselves - which are set to be truly fascinating, if controversial, given China's hosting of them.

One of the uncertainties at the moment from a British perspective is whether the Games will turn out to be a triumph - or a failure. My view is...

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Keep reading this blog for all the latest about the Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing and also for the inside track on the long build-up to London 2012.

News and reports will be on the BBC Sport website but our experts will bring you behind the scenes access to the world's biggest sporting event right here.

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