Brazil shaken by 1st Mexico goal in Olympic final
WEMBLEY, England (AP) — Most Brazilian players hadn’t even touched the ball and the team was already losing 1-0 at the men’s Olympic football final Saturday.
The Brazilians acknowledged they were shaken by Mexico‘s goal just 29 seconds into the match and said it affected the team’s chances of recovering. It was the fastest Olympic goal since FIFA began keeping record of the competition in 1976.
Brazil never got back into the match and ended up losing 2-1, missing yet another opportunity to win the Olympic football gold for the first time.
“We were caught off-guard,” captain Thiago Silva said. “It took us a while to regroup after conceding a goal so early. It’s hard to get back into the game after something like that happens.”
The goal came after a defensive mistake by right back Rafael, but players were quick to say he shouldn’t be the only one blamed for the disappointing result at Wembley Stadium.
“The early goal made it very difficult for us,” Neymar said. “It’s difficult to recover after allowing a goal that early. But we can’t blame Rafael because everybody makes mistakes. I made a mistake when I had a chance to score too, we made passing mistakes, everybody made mistakes.”
The goal came in one of the first plays of the game.
Rafael tried to make to make a backward pass to a teammate andMexico midfielder Javier Aquino was able to intercept the ball, sending it forward to Oribe Peraltajust outside the area. With no defenders near him, Peralta calmly fired his shot just inside the near post.
“We had a major individual mistake that was made after 30 seconds,” Brazil coach Mano Menezes said. “But then we had 89 minutes to turn it around. We lost as a team.”
Rafael left without talking to the media.
Brazil’s defense also failed in Mexico’s second goal in the 75th minute, when Peralta ran unmarked inside the area to easily score from near the penalty spot as Brazilian defenders watched.
Hulk scored Brazil’s goal in injury time, but it was too late.
“Details will always play a huge role in finals and that’s what happened today,” Silva said. “Unfortunately, we were on the losing side this time.”
Silva said that if the goal hadn’t happened, Brazil would’ve been able to stick to its game plan and it would’ve probably had a better chance of getting the gold.
Menezes had to replace midfielder Alex Sandro with striker Hulk in the first half to try push Brazil forward. But the team struggled and had difficulties coming near the Mexican goal, creating very few significant scoring chances.
“We were expecting to play in a certain way, but everything changed after the goal,” Silva said. “But that’s football, sometimes it goes like this, sometimes things won’t go your way.”
It was Brazil’s third silver medal at the Olympics. It also lost the final at the 1988 Seoul Games and at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Brazil settled for the bronze four years ago in Beijing and in 1996 in Atlanta.
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