Alexa

Gold gone, Brazil wants bronze

Gold gone, Brazil wants bronze

With Brazil's quest for its first Olympic gold in football cut short by rival Argentina, Ronaldinho and company play Belgium on Friday with a different medal up for grabs _ the bronze.
The Brazilians arrived in China as one of the tournament's top favorites, and players acknowledged that anything short of the title would be a big disappointment. With Ronaldinho and a bevy of talented youngsters like Manchester United's Anderson and Liverpool's Lucas, many thought that Brazil would finally capture that elusive gold in Beijing.
It couldn't get the job done. Argentina downed Brazil 3-0 in the semifinals, and now the Brazilians have to beat Belgium in Shanghai for the bronze or go home empty-handed.
"We had everything we needed to win it (gold) and didn't do it, but we tried, we fought, and we didn't get it," Brazil defender Marcello said Thursday. "Since we didn't win the gold medal, we have to try to get the bronze."
Brazil was a step away from its first Olympic final since the 1988 Seoul Games, when it won the second of its two silver medals. The first came at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, when Dunga was a player.
Despite the disappointment of playing in Shanghai for the bronze instead of Beijing for the gold, the players say they've put the loss behind them and are focused on salvaging what's left of their campaign in China.
"It's not worth mulling over what happened against Argentina, because we have an important match tomorrow," goalkeeper Renan said Thursday. "It's a match for the bronze, and a medal will soften the blow of not winning the gold."
Still, it's tough to imagine that motivation won't be an issue for a team that had its heart set on gold. But Brazil coach Dunga's has other problems, too.
Midfielders Lucas and Thiago Neves were ejected late in the match against the Argentines and cannot play Friday as a result, while striker Rafael Sobis is nursing an elbow injury and is listed as doubtful.
Belgium coach Jean Francois De Sart, whose team has been the surprise of the tournament, has lineup problems of his own.
Belgium lost its top player, defender Vincent Kompany, after he was forced to return to his club Hamburg ahead of Belgium's third group match. In a further blow, defender Thomas Vermaelen picked up a red card against Italy in the quarterfinals, leaving De Sart only 13 field players against Nigeria _ and all of them played.
De Sart said the grueling schedule at the Olympics has taken its toll on his short-handed squad.
Friday's match in Shanghai will be the teams' second meeting in China. The Red Devils battled Brazil even for almost 80 Brazil before losing 1-0 in their opener on Aug. 7 in Shenyang.
Much like then, De Sart knows what his team is up against as it looks to win Belgium's first medal in football since its gold at the 1920 Antwerp Games.
"It's no secret that Brazil is a very good team, we knew that before the tournament and they've proven it during the competition," he said. "It's a quality team, and it'll be a difficult match for us."


Updated : 2020-11-30 01:29 GMT+08:00