LONDON — Spain's bid to add the Olympic title to their World and European crowns ended in acrimony on Sunday after a shock 1-0 defeat by Honduras left them unable to reach the knockout stage. Title favourites Brazil swept into the quarterfinals after coming from behind to beat Belarus 3-1 at Old Trafford and were joined in the last eight by Japan, who followed up their win over Spain on Thursday with another 1-0 win over Morocco.
Spain hit the woodwork three times against Honduras after conceding an early goal in Newcastle. A strong Spanish appeal for a penalty was waved away in the final minutes and at the final whistle they surrounded the referee in an animated protest. Spain's Under-23 team in London featured three players from the senior squad that retained their European title on July 1.
Spain coach Luis Milla, asked if the success of the senior team had put more pressure on his side, said: "Yes it is possible that the pressure did impact on us, but this is a team full of players who compete at the highest level. "As coaches we have to an analyse why we have been knocked out. We are out of the Olympic Games — but we prepared very well for it. "
"As you can imagine everyone is very sad, everyone is disappointed. We worked well, we played well and put on a good show and we still believe in the way we play and our ideology." Honduras lost all three group matches in Beijing four years ago but held on after Roger Espinoza's cross from the left was met by Jerry Bengtson who rose superbly above Jordi Alba to power his header past David De Gea.
"It was a tense second half. They had lots of chances and we did well to keep calm when they were threatening," said Bengtson. "It was very hard work but we did well to beat them." — Reuters