Neymar scored a scintillating free-kick in regulation time and also hit the winning penalty as Brazil beat Germany for the Olympic gold medal.
Brazil may have gained a bit of revenge for the humiliating 7-1 drubbing at the World Cup two years ago, as they managed to beat Germany on penalties to secure the Olympic gold medal.
Neymar gave Brazil the lead in the 27th minute. He struck an impeccable free-kick that gave German keeper Timo Horn no chance to get his hands on the ball. However, Die Mannschaft clawed their way back into the game as captain Max Meyer scored from an incisive pass played by Jeremy Toljan.
With no more goals in regulation time and the thirty minutes of extra time, the game headed to penalties. All of the first eight penalties found their way into the back of the net but it was the ninth penalty that decided the outcome of the contest.
Julian Brandt stepped up to try and score Germany’s fifth penalty but saw his shot saved by Weverton. Neymar then stepped up to the occasion to win Brazil their first Olympic gold in the sport.
Here are the winners and losers from the Olympic gold medal match:
The stage was set for the 24-year-old to go on to become a legend. After a shambolic 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany only two years ago, Brazil managed to gain revenge in front of the fans. Neymar, who missed that match due to an injury, played in the Olympics final and handed his nation their first gold medal in the game of football.
The Barcelona attacker decided to miss out on the Copa America 2016 as he wanted to focus on the Olympics and win the elusive gold for his nation. With the support of Luan and Renato Augusto, Neymar carried the burden of the Brazilian side throughout the competition and delivered when it mattered the most.
Neymar opened the scoring for Brazil with a dream free-kick in the 27th minute. A wonderfully curled shot found its way into the top left corner of the goal and sent the capacity ground at the Maarcana into ecstasy. The captain then set up a glorious chance for Gabriel Jesus, but the new Manchester City signing failed to make anything off it.
As the game went to penalties, Neymar decided to take the fifth penalty for his side. With the scored level at 4-4, Germany’s Petersen missed a penalty that handed Brazil the initiative. Neymar duly obliged and hit home the penalty with aplomb to win the gold medal.
The Rio Olympics was everything 20-year-old Max Meyer needed to elevate his career to the next level. Often overshadowed due to the world-class names in the German national squad, the Oberhausen-born midfielder showed the entire footballing world why he is a force to reckon with.
He executed his box-to-box role to utmost perfection and proved to be a constant hassle for the Brazilian players who were handed the duty of closing him down. His pace, dribbling ability and awareness were all put to good use as he almost stole the game away from the hosts. Stellar performance.
The 28-year-old midfield destroyer ended the Rio 2016 campaign on a high. Deployed as a holding midfielder, the Beijing Guaon player put in a commendable performance to deal with the pacy and energetic German midfield.
His awareness was second to none as he played a number of accurate long passes and also made a few crucial interceptions. He dictated terms from the middle of the park and was pivotal in his side’s run to the gold medal.
Before the Rio Olympics, there was a lot of hype regarding wonder-kid Gabriel Jesus. Recently signed by Manchester City for a reported €30 million, the striker lived up to his tag and performed exceedingly well at the tournament. However, on Saturday, he put in an underwhelming performance and looked like an anomaly in what was a fluid Brazilian squad.
The Manchester City striker failed to get on the back of a number of chances as his finishing was awful on the day. When he drifted out wide, there was very little he could do to influence proceedings as he fluffed a number of crosses. He was also beaten to the ball time and again.
The Freiburg front man came on as an impact susbtitute in the 76th minute, with the score tied. However, Petersen seemed to lack match sharpness as he made a number of woeful errors and was toothless in front of Brazil’s goal.
In the penalty shootout too, it was due to Petersen’s missed penalty that the hosts managed to grab their hands on the gold medal.
Gnabry had an exceptional Rio 2016 campaign, but much like Gabriel, did very little to create an impact in the finale. The Arsenal midfielder often overran the ball which saw him concede possession time and again. His passing was second grade as he looked to be on a totally different wavelength than his teammates.
The 21-year-old rarely offered support on both ends of the field and was bullied at the heart of midfield by the Brazilian midfielders. However, it was only a one off in what was an otherwise impressive Olympics for him.