Brazil beat Ger­many to win gold

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

NEY­MAR scored the win­ning penalty as hosts Brazil beat Ger­many 5-4 on penal­ties in Rio to win their first men’s Olympic foot­ball gold medal.

The game fin­ished 1-1 af­ter ex­tra time, with Ney­mar’s first-half free-kick can­celled out by Max Meyer’s strike.

In the shootout, Ger­many’s Nils Petersen had his penalty saved by Wev­er­ton be­fore Ney­mar won it.

It comes two years af­ter Ger­many thrashed Brazil 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup semi-fi­nals in Belo Hor­i­zonte.

In front of 78,000 at the Mara­cana, Brazil got a mea­sure of re­venge as they fi­nally won the Olympic ti­tle af­ter los­ing in the fi­nals in 1984, 1988 and 2012.

Barcelona for­ward Ney­mar, who missed the World Cup semi-fi­nal through in­jury, opened the scor­ing with a fine 25-yard free-kick, but the hosts were lucky to go in at half-time with the lead.

Ger­many hit the wood­work three times in the first half - through Ju­lian Brandt’s 25-yard ef­fort, a de­flec­tion off a Brazil­ian de­fender and Sven Ben­der’s header - be­fore they scored a de­served equaliser shortly af­ter the restart.

Ben­der passed to the over­lap­ping Jeremy Tol­jan and he found the un­marked Meyer, who ar­rowed a low shot into the net.

Nei­ther side could find a win­ner be­fore the drama of the penalty shootout gave Brazil the gold.

Goal­keeper Wev­er­ton said: “The gold is ours, but it be­longs to God. God loves Ney­mar like he loves all this team.”

Ney­mar added: “This is one of the best things that has hap­pened in my life. That’s it.”

Two years ago, World Cup hosts and tour­na­ment favourites Brazil suf­fered their heav­i­est ever World Cup de­feat as they fell 5-0 be­hind in­side 29 min­utes on their way to that 7-1 thrash­ing by the Ger­mans.

Be­fore the Olympic fi­nal, Brazil coach Roge­rio Mi­cale tried to play down talk of a “re­venge” vic­tory.

He pointed out that none of his play­ers were in­volved in the World Cup semi-fi­nal - with the Olympic squads only able to fea­ture three play­ers aged older than 23.

“That was the World Cup, this is the Olympic team,’’ said Mi­cale. “Ney­mar never played in that match so there is noth­ing that could gen­er­ate any type of feel­ing that we have to take re­venge. “It is a dif­fer­ent time with dif­fer­ent play­ers and ages.” Nev­er­the­less, the ca­pac­ity crowd cre­ated a fan­tas­tic at­mos­phere in the Mara­cana and got the re­sult they des­per­ately craved.

Nige­ria won their first medal of the 2016 Olympics as they beat Hon­duras 3-2 in the bronze-medal match, with Sadiq Umar scor­ing twice and Aminu Umar scor­ing once.

Chelsea mid­fielder John Mikel Obi, who cap­tained the Nige­ria side, said: “I am so proud of this team, the boys worked so hard.

“It is very im­por­tant, be­cause foot­ball in Nige­ria is ab­so­lutely mas­sive. We had ex­tra pres­sure per­haps, but we have done it for us, for our fam­ily, for Nige­ria.”

Nige­ria held a 3-0 lead be­fore Hon­duras, who qual­i­fied from the group phase at Ar­gentina’s ex­pense, scored twice through Antony Lozano and Marcelo Par­era to set up a tense con­clu­sion. — BBC Sport

Ney­mar

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