Rio Olympics 2016: Brazil beat Germany on penalties to win men’s football gold
Neymar struck the winning penalty as Brazil claimed a first ever Olympic football gold medal with victory over Germany on penalties at Rio’s Maracana.
The 5-4 shoot-out win exacted revenge for a humiliating 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany two years ago.
Olympic gold was the only major title to have escaped five-time world champions Brazil in their history.
But Barcelona star Neymar righted that historical wrong as he fired the winning penalty into the top corner before breaking into tears.
In front of the biggest crowd of Rio’s Games, including nine-time Jamaican gold medallist Usain Bolt, Neymar’s brilliant free-kick handed Brazil a first-half lead.
In honour of the retiring sprinting great, Neymar even adopted the “lightning bolt” celebration, whilst chants of “ole, ole, ole, Neymar” rang around Rio’s most iconic arena.
The first eight penalties in the shootout were all successful before Brazil goalkeeper Weverton stopped Nils Petersen’s effort to set the stage for Neymar.
And he didn’t disappoint as, with the weight of a nation on his shoulders, he rifled the ball into the top corner.
In stark contrast to the empty seats on show across the Games, even at times when Bolt has been running, there wasn’t a seat to be had at the Maracana – where Germany won the World Cup against Lionel Messi’s Argentina two years ago.
However, it was for the 7-1 mauling in Belo Horizonte five days previously that Brazil were seeking revenge.
None of the players that took to the field that day started on Saturday.
Neymar missed the darkest day in Brazil’s football history due to two broken bones in his back suffered during a bruising quarter-final win over Colombia.
Weverton made a fine save from Meyer and Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos was fortunate when his mishit clearance flew inches over his own crossbar.