The host nation captured the gold that mattered the most.
Brazil finally won an Olympic gold in men’s football in dramatic fashion, beating Germany 5-4 in a penalty shootout with Neymar, the country’s most popular player, delivering the winning goal and bursting into tears afterwards.
It was payback of sorts, too, for Brazil, which was embarrassed by Germany by a score of 7-1 in the World Cup semifinals two years ago. This time, the match was much closer. Neymar opened up scoring in the 27th minute with a brilliant free kick. German captain Maximilan Meyer slotted in the equalizer in the 59th minute, and with neither team scoring again, it set up a penalty shootout.
The first eight players all scored, but Brazilian goalkeeper Weverton snuffed out Nils Petersen’s attempt, setting up Neymar’s gold medal clincher.
The Brazilian striker kissed the ball, put it down and then found the back of the net on the left-hand side of the goal, sending the Maracana Stadium into a frenzy.
Prior to these Games, Brazil had never won an Olympic gold in their national sport, settling for three silvers and two bronzes. To finally break through in front of an adoring home crowd was a fitting way for the country to end their hosting of these Olympics.
View the highlights of the match below: