Goals from Lukas Klostermann and Nils Petersen were enough for Germany to set-up an Olympic gold medal match against hosts Brazil at the Maracana as they overcame Nigeria 2-0 in the semi-final of the Rio 2016 men’s football tournament.
In a tense affair at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians on Wednesday, it was Horst Hrubesch’s side who took the lead early on in proceedings, Max Meyer picking out full-back Klostermann, who duly rolled home his finish from six yards out.
Germany survived a scare moments later, however, as a calamitous error from goalkeeper Timo Horn allowed Aminu Umar a clear sight on goal, but the Osmanlispor forward could only drill a tame effort straight at the backpedalling German shot-stopper.
Matters perhaps should have been made worse for Nigeria soon after, but fortunately for Ndifreke Udo, he escaped with just a caution after diving in recklessly on Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry.
Davie Selke squandered a gilt-edged chance to extend Germany’s lead as the half wore on before, on the stroke of the interval, Borussia Dortmund defender Matthias Ginter did brilliantly to prevent Umar from netting with a last-ditch sliding challenge.
Somewhat surprisingly, it was Nigeria who came out the strongest following the restart, though despite creating plenty of half-chances, Mikel John-Obi going close with a header, Samson Siasia’s side could not engineer a way through Germany’s stubborn, albeit tiring, defence.
And victory was finally sealed for the Germans when, in the closing moments, Selke’s cross-cum-shot was squeezed in by second-half substitute Petersen, ensuring the final will be a repeat of the infamous 2014 World Cup semi-final between Germany and Brazil’s senior sides, which finished 7-1 to Joachim Low’s men.
The result guarantees a medal for Germany in their first appearance at an Olympic men’s football competition since 1988, while Nigeria will face Honduras – who were hammered 6-0 by Brazil earlier on Wednesday – in the bronze medal decider.
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