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London 2012


Tantalising finale!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


LONDON, England (AFP) — Brazil coach Mano Menezes believes his players will be inspired by the chance to write their names in Wembley’s legendary history by winning Olympic gold in the men’s final against Mexico today.

The five-time world champions are within touching distance of delivering their country’s first ever gold in the men’s Olympic football event and, for Menezes, the prospect of having Wembley as the backdrop makes it seem like something from the script of a Hollywood film.

The national stadium has played host to numerous classic occasions, from England’s 1966 World Cup final victory to European Cup triumphs for Manchester United and Barcelona, and Menezes would love to see Brazil earn their place in Wembley hall of fame.

“If you had the chance to write a plot for a film about winning a gold medal, you could not choose a better place for it than here (at Wembley),” Menezes said on Friday.

Brazil have lost in the Olympic final twice, in 1984 and 1988, and the South Americans are desperate to end that barren run, especially since it would make them Olympic champions at the expense of arch rivals and current holders Argentina, who failed to qualify for the London Games.

“This is our third opportunity to win gold. We are going to use what we learned from the previous two finals and do our best against Mexico,” Menezes said.

“But I don’t believe in favouritism in football. Both teams have done a good job to get to the final and we are going to play against Mexico with the same respect that we have shown to all the other teams.”

Menezes acknowledges he is feeling a few nerves as Brazil are under such heavy pressure to succeed, but he is confident the occasion won’t be too much for him or his players.

“You do have butterflies in your stomach and that is part of it,” he said. “The day I don’t have them is the day I should not be working in football any more.

“I do feel under pressure, but it is no different to any other moment in this Olympic Games.

“I try to be very rational. As a coach you have to be rational to make decisions. Emotion is for the fans.”

Menezes’s side have been in formidable form en route to the final and the likes of Neymar, Oscar and Leandro Damiao — the tournament’s top scorer with six goals — have all underlined their growing reputations with stellar performances.

Santos striker Neymar has especially impressed Menezes.

The 20-year-old, a long-time transfer target for Chelsea and Real Madrid, has earned a reputation for being hard to handle, but he has been the model of maturity during the Olympics.

“We are all going to leave England different to how we were when we arrived,” Menezes said.

“We have had such a positive campaign that all the players have a much more mature outlook.”

Menezes hopes to have good news on the injury front before Saturday’s 1400GMT kick-off as midfielder Ganso, who has missed the last two matches with a thigh injury, could be ready to return.

“I’m not going to talk about the line-up. But it is possible that Ganso can play,” he said.

“He was able to play in the last two matches, but he was not

used. He is in shape to play.”

Mexico will be playing in the Olympic final for the first time and few people give Luis Fernando Tena’s side a chance of taking gold.

But the Mexicans have won three of their past five international matches against Brazil, including a 2-0 friendly victory in June.

“We have the silver in our hands but we are not content with this, we are going for gold,” Tena said.

“I read that everyone is betting on Brazil but we are strong and we believe in ourselves.

“We know Brazil have great players in all the positions and we need to be perfect if we want to win.”


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