Brazilians have a particular football match etched in their memory when they hear the words ‘Brazil’ and ‘Germany’ uttered in the same sentence.
It’s been over two years since the Brazil national football team, who were poised to lift the World Cup as host nations, were humiliated by the Germans in the semi-finals. Their golden boy Neymar Jr, who was meant to carry them to glory, was left out due to injury. The score was 7-1.
Two years on and Rio became the main stage for the two countries to meet again. Football in Olympics may not carry the same gravitas as the World Cup – regulations dictate that teams can only be made up of players under the age of 23, with only three over-23 players allowed. But for Brazil, who have never won Olympic gold in men’s football before, this was a big deal.
About 78,000 spectators gathered at the Maracanã, the largest stadium in Brazil, filling it up to the brim. All of Brazil wanted to remember the day they beat Germany to win Gold in Rio.
Brazil had a fairly good start, with an inch-perfect Neymar freekick bouncing off the inside of the crossbar, giving Brazil the lead they needed.
The match was fairly even and the scoreline reflected that in the 59th minute when Max Meyer converted a well-timed volley into the bottom corner.
The game eventually led to penalties, with the scores tied at 1-1 after extra time.
The first four spot kicks were well converted, leaving an air of tension and anxiety throughout the Maracana. That air was short-lived however when Germany’s Nils Petersen had his penalty saved. Neymar, with the hopes of millions on his shoulders, converted his and the rest, as they say, is history.