After a very shaky start to the 2016 Rio Olympics, the host nation of Brazil have made their way into the final where they will play Germany in a chance at redemption. After Brazil’s embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup on home soil, Brazil finally have another chance to give their fans reason to cheer again. Not only did Brazil crash out of the 2014 World Cup, but they also failed to make it out of their group in the 2015 Copa America. Brazil cannot afford to disappoint their fans 3 years in a row.
Brazil’s journey to the final started off with two goalless draws in the group stage against South Africa and Iraq. The Brazilians proved that they could certainly create plenty of chances but they simply could not put the ball in the back of the net. Brazil were then in a must-win scenario if they were to get out of their group and have even a chance at Olympic gold. The host nation proved the critics wrong and beat Denmark 4-0, propelling them into the knockout stages on top of their group.
The Brazilian national team, led by Neymar, hit their stride at this stage of the competition. They won 2-0 against Columbia as Neymar grabbed his first goal of the tournament and then followed up with a dominating 6-0 victory over Honduras in the semifinals. Neymar scored another two goals in that thrashing, including the fastest goal ever recorded in Olympic history, just 15 seconds into the game. Brazil now go into their final match against Germany with a rock solid defense that has not conceded a goal yet, as well as a confident offense which has scored 12 goals in their last 3 games.
After the Brazilian women’s national team were knocked out of the competition by Sweden, all of the hope and pressure now lies on Neymar and the men’s team to win the gold medal. If Brazil were to beat Germany, it would be their first ever gold medal for soccer at the Olympic Games. The match between the two giants of world football will be played on Saturday at the Maracana in front of a full Brazilian crowd with huge expectations.