Brazil conquers challenges to double up on gold in Olympics

Players of Brazil celebrate winning the gold medal after the match against Spain during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Aug. 7, 2021.
REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

If Tokyo 2020 was the resilient Games, then perhaps Brazil were apt victors in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020, according to FIFA.

It said A Seleção survived two grueling extra-time encounters to claim gold once again, doubling up on their breakthrough win on home soil at Rio 2016.

Leaving aside the many challenges presented by COVID-19, FIFA said Brazil “showed discipline and desire to firstly outlast a gritty Mexico in the semi-final, before doing so against Spain in the gold medal match.”

Earlier in the knockout stage, FIFA said Brazil outlasted a well-organized Egypt — the tournament’s best performed team defensively.

For the first time since 2004, FIFA said all six confederations were represented in the quarter-finals.

It said New Zealand achieved a new mark with their last-eight appearance, while notably Korea Republic also impressed as did Côte d’Ivoire.

FIFA said Spain will consider themselves unlucky not to claim Europe’s first gold since they won at home at Barcelona 1992.

“The Spaniards, marshalled in midfield by Pedri, also displayed their commitment by going through three extra time matches in as many knockout stage outings,” FIFA said.

“Notably, all four semi-finalists looked hungry and willing from the opening match, held as usual, prior to the Opening Ceremony,” it added. “Mexico looked capable of reprising their London 2012 win, only to suffer penalty shoot-out elimination against Brazil.”

FIFA said hosts Japan also turned in a strong campaign before semi-final heartbreak against Spain just minutes from a shoot-out.

“For any further evidence of the desire of the players at the back-end of the tournament, look no further than Brazil’s evergreen captain Dani Alves who called the gold medal ‘the greatest achievement of his career,” FIFA said. “Some accolade given the former Barcelona star’s remarkable record-breaking career silverware haul.”

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