With the weight of expectation of a whole football-obsessed nation squarely on their shoulders, Brazil’s men won the Olympic gold after a dramatic shoot-out victory against Germany.
Brazil captain Neymar had opened the scoring on 29 minutes, courtesy of a cracking free-kick.
However, just before the hour-mark, German captain Max Meyer levelled the scores in the Maracana.
Despite the incredible support for the home side in the stadium, the Brazilians couldn’t break down a well-organised German team, with extra-time unable to separate the two sides.
In the subsequent penalty shoot-out, both side’s first four penalty takers all scored (including Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry), before Freiburg striker Nils Petersen saw his effort saved by Weverton (who hopefully one day will move to Goodison Park).
That left Barcelona superstar Neymar with the task of converting his side’s fifth penalty and thus firing Brazil to gold. And that’s just what he did.
— Barcastuff (@barcastuff_real) August 20, 2016
Neymar’s winning spot-kick left both the Brazilian captain, his team-mates, coaching staff and indeed, the whole of the Maracana in tears of joy as the country picked up its first ever football Olympic gold.
The final had been billed as a chance for Brazil to get revenge for that 7-1 German humiliation at the 2014 World Cup. However, surely an U23 tournament, no matter how passionately supported, simply doesn’t come close to a World Cup competition? After all, Honduras even made it to the semi-finals!
Still, for Brazil, this was the gold medal they wanted, and they got it!