Olympics: Brazil win men's football gold, beat Germany 5-4 on penalties in final

Brazil's football team celebrate after winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Aug 20.
Brazil's football team celebrate after winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Aug 20.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Brazil's captain Neymar jumps into the crowd to celebrate the football team's Olympic gold medal.
Brazil's captain Neymar jumps into the crowd to celebrate the football team's Olympic gold medal. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Neymar of Brazil mobbed by teammates after scoring the deciding penalty in the shootout on Aug 20.
Neymar of Brazil mobbed by teammates after scoring the deciding penalty in the shootout on Aug 20.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Neymar's free kick beating Germany's goalkeeper Timo Horn for a 1-0 lead at halftime on Aug 20.
Neymar's free kick beating Germany's goalkeeper Timo Horn for a 1-0 lead at halftime on Aug 20.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Brazil's Rodrigo Caio (left) celebrating as Neymar's free kick beat Germany's goalkeeper Timo Horn for a 1-0 lead at halftime on Aug 20.
Brazil's Rodrigo Caio (left) celebrating as Neymar's free kick beat Germany's goalkeeper Timo Horn for a 1-0 lead at halftime on Aug 20.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Neymar celebrating his free kick goal in front of home fans on Aug 20.
Neymar celebrating his free kick goal in front of home fans on Aug 20.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil ended its wait for the last major trophy that had eluded them on Saturday evening by winning the Olympic men's football tournament.

The host of the Rio Games defeated nemesis Germany 5-4 on penalties after both sides drew 1-1 after extra time at the city's iconic Maracana Stadium in front of almost 80,000 fans, mostly in yellow and cheering the Selecao.

The Olympics is an Under-23 competition. When the senior sides of both countries last met, it was at the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil and the Germans trashed the host 7-1.

Captain and star forward Neymar opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a wonderful free-kick that bounced into the goal after hitting the crossbar.

It was his fourth goal of the competition. All have come in the knock-out rounds.

The Germans could count themselves unfortunate in the first half trailing after they hit the cross-bar three times.

 
 

But captain Maximilian Meyer drew them level in the 59th minute, getting into the box and sweeping home a cross from the right.

With both sides unable to break the deadlock after that and the subsequent 30 minutes of extra time, the game went to a penalty shootout.

Both teams scored their first four attempts until German substitute Nils Petersen's shot was saved.

It was left to Neymar to score the final penalty and send the home crowd wild with celebration.

Five-time World Cup winners Brazil had participated in the Olympic football competition since the 1952 Helsinki Games.

They had progressed to three previous finals (1984, 1988 and 2012) of the men's competition and have lost all three.

Neymar was in the side that was shocked 2-1 by Mexico at London 2012.

In the bronze medal match, 1996 champions Nigeria beat Honduras 3-2 to finish third.

Brazil have won five golds at the Rio Games, in athletics, judo, boxing, sailing and beach volleyball.

But the sixth gold, on the penultimate day of the Games, was perhaps the sweetest.