Brazil beat Germany, win men’s Olympic football gold

After 64 years of waiting, Brazil won gold since their first Olympic football outing with Neymar scoring the winning penalty in a shoot-out to defeat Germany 5-4.

Eight perfect spot-kicks were converted before Petersen saw his effort saved, with Neymar keeping his cool to convert the winning penalty.

The game had finished 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Brazil’s No10 himself had opened the scoring, with Max Meyer leveling in the second half.

With no more goals in extra time, the game went to penalties, with Weverton saving Nils Peteresen’s spot-kick before Neymar scored the golden penalty.

The atmosphere before kick-off was crackling with anticipation.

Scores of Brazilian fans were seen loitering around the Maracana hours before the game got underway.

The Brazilian national anthem was greeted with a deafening Brazilian crowd, who sang along with gusto.

If anybody thought the Germans would be anticipated by the ‘home’ crowd, they would be mistaken.

At least not with Horst Hrubesch’s side calm and composed on the ball when the game got underway.

They also had the better of the opportunities in the opening period.

After 11 minutes, incidentally the same minute in which Thomas Muller opened the scoring in that semi-final, Julian Brandt went close to emulating the Bayern Munich man.

He received the ball in space from Serge Gnabry.

After good work down the left by the Arsenal man, an effort at goal rebounded back off the crossbar.

Brazil would then hit the woodwork, in more productive fashion, to take the lead.

Neymar spotted up a free-kick around 25 yards from goal, and hit a superb, dipping effort in off the underside of the bar, which left Timo Horn with no chance.

The Germans then hit the crossbar again, with Max Meyer’s curled free-kick nodded on by Suele.

A Brazilian had deflected it over with the help of the crossbar.

From the resulting corner, Meyer struck a venomous drive which was brilliantly kept out by Weverton.

Brandt then dinked a delicate free-kick into the Brazilian penalty area, which Sven Bender nodded on past a stranded Weverton.

The ball then hit the crossbar for the third time and went over.

After the break, the Germans finally broke the Brazilian backline’s resistance.

The ball was worked well by the Germans out to the galloping right back Jeremy Toljan, who crossed into Meyer.

The captain calmly slotted past Brazil’s No1. After 509 minutes of Rio 2016, Weverton was beaten.

Felipe Anderson was presented with the best opportunity of what remained of normal time, put clean through on goal by Neymar.

The Lazio winger could not quite get the ball out of his feet and rather scuffed his shot under pressure from the German defence tracking back.

In extra time, Brazil saw a forward sprint clear of the German backline three times.

But none of Gabriel Jesus, Luan or Felipe Anderson could capitalise on their chances.

The Brazilians had waited 64 years since their first Olympic Football Tournament to win gold.

And their fans were made to wait through the agony of extra time and penalties.

Eight perfect spot-kicks were converted before Petersen saw his effort saved, with Neymar keeping his cool to convert the winning penalty.

NEYMAR’S GOLDEN TOUCH ILLUMINATES MARACANA

A Brazil team spearheaded by Neymar is not an unstoppable force.

The No10 bounced back, fought harder and dragged his side to glory.

Back in 2012, Neymar experienced first-hand the frustration of losing the final to Mexico.

Yet the following year there he was, shining bright as A Verde e Amarelo overran Spain in the decider at the FIFA Confederations Cup on home soil.

Come the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he looked on, absent through injury, as Brazil were taken apart by Germany in the semi-finals.

This time, despite the build-up of decades’ worth of pressure inside a packed Maracana, there he was, ready to lead, shine and win.

“He is, above all else, a player who’s happy to be here, taking part in the Olympics,” said coach Rogerio Micale to FIFA.com.

Following the penalty shoot-out, he won over Germany, ending Brazil’s search for a first ever Olympic football gold.

Captain and undisputed leading man, Neymar simply could not have shouldered a greater burden in his team’s quest.

He netted the stunning free-kick that opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw.

He also showed ice-cool to put away the decisive, hoodoo-breaking spot-kick in the shoot-out.

“That he’s a player who can unlock a game – like he did once again today – is something we already knew,” went on Micale.

“But the most important thing is that he really wanted this fresh chance, having come so close to gold last time.

“Neymar is like that; he’s a fighter, and that’s why he’s gets the rewards – like he did today with the gold medal and the great tournament he’s had.

“He deserves everything that he achieves in his life.”

After scoring the wondrous free-kick that opened the scoring, the No10’s hug for coach Micale gave the impression that it was he, Neymar, who owed a debt of gratitude.

Micale, smiling and happy, set the record straight post-match:

“I’m the one who has a lot to be grateful to him for.

“And I think right now everybody would agree: the whole of Brazil has too.”

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After 64 years of waiting, Brazil won gold since their first Olympic football outing with Neymar scoring the winning penalty in a shoot-out to defeat Germany 5-4.