Neymar, who opened the scoring on 27 minutes, converted the winning spot-kick after the keeper Weverton saved the previous penalty from Nils Petersen. Max Meyer levelled at 1-1 just before the hour mark. “It’s not a bitter blow. We knew it could end in penalties. We had the chance to win the game before that. Before the penalties I told the lads they’d done something outstanding. We leave here as winners not losers,” said coach Trainer Horst Hrubesch after his last match in charge for Germany: “Of course, I did want a gold medal as did the lads but I’m still happy. We spent the last four days in the Olympic Village and that was a fantastic experience.”
Brandt strikes first
Julian Brandt provided the first excitement in an incredibly intensive encounter when he rifled a shot against the bar from the edge of the box on 11 minutes. Brazil had more luck when Neymar hit a free kick just under the bar to give Brazil the lead on 27 minutes. The bar intervened again to frustrate a shot from Meyer (31’) and a header from Sven Bender (35’) – three times against the goal frame is a lot of woodwork.
Bender goes off
The deserved equaliser came after the restart: Julian Brandt put Jeremy Toljan through on the right and his cross was met by Meyer who turned it into the bottom corner to level at 1-1 on 59 minutes. A setback followed as the battler Lars Bender had to go off injured after putting in an heroic defensive run to keep out Renato Augusto on 65 minutes.
It was a no-holds barred encounter all the way with Brandt having another effort on goal in extra time but his impressive shot flew just over the target on 97 minutes. Brandt converted his penalty in the shoot-out as the third German player up with a shot into the right corner. The two sides remained inseparable until Weverton saved from Petersen and Neymar took the roof off the Maracana with the winning penalty.
A sensational effort by Germany ended in silver – and the recognition that a team put together late on could have a fantastic tournament. Well done, Lars and Julian.
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