Neymar Brazil’s hero as Olympic host wins football gold

© Ueslei Marcelino
Brazil has claimed the gold medal its supporters most coveted, with Neymar scoring to give his team victory over Germany on penalties in the Rio 2016 football finals.

The host nation has not been entirely convincing throughout the football competition in Rio de Janeiro, but managed to edge a tense encounter against the world champions at the Maracana.

Neymar had given the South American nation the lead in the first half with a sublime free-kick, which curled past Timo Horn into the German goal.

However, Schalke playmaker Max Meyer equalized and when the game finished 1-1 after extra-time, the home crowd were a bag of nerves as penalty kicks were called for.

Germany’s usually dependable striker, Nils Petersen, saw his spot kick saved by Weverton in the Brazilian goal, before Neymar stepped up to score the winning penalty and send the crowd into rapture.

It was the first time that Brazil has ever won Olympic gold in football. The famous South American nation was beaten in the final back in 1984, 1988, and four years ago in London.

Brazil’s forward trio of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, and Gabriel Barbosa have captured the imagination of the Games throughout the competition, with the young pair tipped to follow in the Barcelona star’s footsteps and become world-renowned players.

The victory over Germany is also a symbolic act of revenge, as the European nation beat the South Americans 7-1 in the semi-finals of the World Cup two years ago.

The gold makes up for disappointment with Brazil’s women’s team, which was beaten by Sweden and missed out on a medal by losing to Canada.

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