Brazil retained their men’s Olympic football title with a 2-1 victory over Spain after extra-time in Yokohama.
Richarlison missed a penalty for the defending champions, blazing his shot wildly over the bar, before Cunha put Brazil ahead with a smart finish in first half injury time.
Unai Simon kept Spain in it by turning a Richarlison shot onto the bar early in the second half, before a spectacular volley from Mikel Oyarzabal drew Spain level just after the hour mark. Oscar Gil and Bryan Gil both hit the bar for Spain as normal time drew to a close.
In the extra period Brazil took the game over. Malcom came on as a substitute and made an immediate impact, stretching the Spanish defence several times before breaking away to score the winning goal in the second period of extra time.
Brazil's Matheus Cunha celebrates after scoring against Spain during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games football competition men's gold medal match at Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 7, 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Can this young team be the inspiration for Brazil to challenge in Qatar?
You wait your whole football history for Olympic gold, and then two come along at once. After scratching that long-time itch in Rio five years ago, Brazil have now retained the men’s Olympic title with a team bursting with promise.
This victory will be a soothing balm after the senior team lost the final of the Copa America in Rio a month ago. In around 18 months’ time, we might even come to see it as an early calling card of a new Brazil. The World Cup in Qatar is already on the horizon, and in Malcom, Claudinho, Arana, Antony, Matheus Cunha and Paulinho the Brazilians have the nucleus of a vibrant new side.
Richarlison is already a focal point in the senior squad and now even the timeless Dani Alves, 38 years young, is talking ambitiously of the World Cup after his stint as one of the overage stars in Tokyo. Brazil haven’t won the World Cup for 20 years, another problem that’s causing the nation more than a little angst; Tokyo might have just offered them a few clues on how to solve it.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Guilherme Arana (Brazil)
Brazil’s left back was a constant, consistent threat, overlapping with menace and giving the Spanish right side a thorny problem all evening. Nilton Santos, Junior, Branco, Leonardo and Roberto Carlos have all graced that position for Brazil over the years; Arana has not been fully capped by Brazil yet, but joining that illustrious lineage won’t be far away if he carries on like this.
'Didn't fancy him at all!' - Richarlison with penalty shocker for Brazil in final
Brazil (4-4-2): Santos 6; Alves 7, Nino 6, Diego Carlos 6, Arana 8; Antony 7, Bruno Guimaraes 7, Douglas Luiz 6, Claudinho 7; Matheus Cunha 7, Richarlison 5. SUBS: Malcom 7, Reinier 6, Menino 6, Paulinho 6
Spain (4-3-3): Unai Simon 5; Oscar Gil 6, Eric Garcia 7, Pau Torres 6, Cucurella 6; Zubimendi 6, Merino 6, Pedri 7; Asensio 6, Oyarzabal 7, Dani Olmo 6. SUBS: Bryan Gil 7, Soler 7, Vallejo 6, Miranda 6, Rafa Mir 6, Moncayola 6
34' - BRAZIL 0-0 SPAIN Close from Brazil! Douglas Costa whips in a free kick, Simon rushes out, misses it completely and Cunha glances the ball wide of goal. Simon absolutely clatters Costa on the follow through, and VAR are checking it; Beath is coming to the monitor to have a look...
37' - BRAZIL 0-0 SPAIN It's a penalty to Brazil! That looked the right decision, as Simon really flattened Cunha.
38' - BRAZIL 0-0 SPAIN Richarlison takes....and after a stuttering run-up he Waddles it over the bar! What a reprieve for Simon and Spain that is.
45+2' - GOAL! BRAZIL 1-0 SPAIN Brazil are in front! Claudinho whips a cross to the back post, which looks overhit but Alves manages to hook it back high to the penalty spot. Cunha brings the looping ball down, and places a low shot into the bottom corner with Simon rooted!
52' - BRAZIL 1-0 SPAIN What a save by Simon! Brazil break like lightning through Cunha, released by a flick on from Claudinho. Cunha squares it to Richarlison in the box, who fakes Gil out of his boots before shooting low to the near post. Simon gets a flick on it with his heel, and the ball loops up, hits the bar and bounces back out! Spain clear and it's still a one goal game.
61' - GOAL! BRAZIL 1-1 SPAIN Oh what a goal! Spain work Soler into space on the byline near the right. He lofts a delicious, half-volleyed cross to the back post, where Oyarazabal arrives to slide in and smash an unstoppable volley past Santos high into the net! That is a glorious hit, and we're all square!
85' - BRAZIL 1-1 SPAIN Oscar Gil hits the bar for Spain! A wobbler of a cross from the right completely deceives Santos, who can only flail at it as the ball goes over him and clips the bar before running away to safety.
88' - BRAZIL 1-1 SPAIN Now Bryan Gil hits the bar for Spain! My oh my. The new Spurs man unloads a rasper with his left from 25 yards out, which beats Santos but clatters the bar and bounces out.
ET 108' - GOAL! BRAZIL 2-1 SPAIN Brazil lead again! Soler's corner is awful, low to the near post, and Brazil hit them quickly. A long, diagonal ball from Antony finds Malcom one on one with Vallejo in the inside left channel. Malcolm scorches past him, into the area, and although Simon gets a foot to the shot it goes through him and high into the corner of the net!
FT - BRAZIL ARE THE MEN'S OLYMPIC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS AGAIN! It's over, and after an exhausting contest Brazil have retained their title!
Brazil are the fifth nation to retain the men’s Olympic football title after Great Britain, Uruguay, Hungary and Argentina.
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