Hindustan Times (Delhi)


Forward converts winning penalty as Brazil beat Germany to clinch Olympic gold that has eluded them for long

- Agencies sportm@hindustant­imes.com

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil won the entire Olympics — or so it felt for fans dancing in the streets after Neymar fired the winning penalty for football gold.

Drivers of cars and trucks hooted and crowds in countless bars across the city screamed in a Saturday night delight.

At one open air bar along Rio’s iconic Copacabana seafront, every man, woman and child leapt from their seats, hugging, pouring beer and, because this is Brazil, dancing samba between the tables and on the sidewalk. “The champions are back, the champions are back!” they chanted.

Even after two weeks of hosting South America’s first Olympics, nothing could compare for Brazilians to winning their first Olympic football title and defeating Germany two years after a 7-1 World Cup humiliatio­n.


“Brazil could have won (gold) medals in everything but if it hadn’t been in football then nothing would have counted,” said Leila Lopes da Silva, 70, who joined the dancing and chanting in the beach bar.

“Volleyball, judo, that’s all fine,” she said. “But football was what we needed.”

Interim president Michel Temer — likely to be confirmed in the post this month if the elected president is removed by impeachmen­t — quickly seized the moment. “The Olympic #football team conquered a first ever #gold at a historic moment for the country. It’s the moment to recapture the grandeur of our Brazil,” he tweeted.


Temer, who is deeply unpopular and widely seen as part of the corrupt elite entrenched in the capital Brasilia, hopes that football success in Rio’s Maracana stadium will lift the grim national mood — and his own chances in the top job.

The notorious 7-1 defeat to Germany in 2014 almost seemed like an omen of Brazil’s ever deepening economic and political worries since.


Another easy pick, even in a games where an Egyptian was sent home after failing to shake an Israeli judo opponent’s hand.

Ryan Lochte is a 12-time Olympic medallist. His story that a robber put a gun to his head quickly unravelled, his three teammates who were companions that night all were left to answer legal questions after he scurried home, and more repercussi­ons from the US Olympic Committee are likely coming.

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