Head coach Rogerio Micale proudly declared that “Brazilian football is not dead” after leading the nation to a historic Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016.
A pulsating gold medal match against Germany finished 1-1 after extra time at the Maracana and fittingly it was the poster boy of Brazilian football, Neymar, that hammered home the winning spot-kick in a 5-4 shoot-out victory.
It was a moment of history for the proud footballing nation, who have won the World Cup on five occasions but had never triumphed at the Olympics before Saturday’s dramatic final.
For Brazil, the win goes some way to eradicating the painful memories of their home World Cup two years ago when they were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals.
And Micale believes that his team have gone a long way to restoring pride in the national team.
“Yes, I am sure this will give reason for pride and confidence in the Brazilian people in the national team,” he told a news conference.
“We knew there was huge responsibility on the Olympic team because of how important football is to the country.
“We can look to the future with more confidence, more pride. Brazilian football is not dead. We have great potential and hope to achieve great things in future.”
For Neymar, the victory marks a title with his country, having been part of the team that had to settle for silver four years ago in London.
Micale has now challenged the Barcelona superstar to bring the World Cup back to the South American nation.
“He [Neymar] is just 24, has already won silver and now a gold medal,” he added.
“The natural next step for him is to win a World Cup.”
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