Tonight, the entire country of Brazil holds its breath as they contest the Olympic football final against Germany. For a country like Brazil, football is more than just a sport-it is a key part of their identity. And it shows against the Germans. When the ball comes anywhere near the Brazilian net, a chorus of screams emanate from the desperate crowd.
It was Brazil's most famous son, Neymar, who opened the scoring early in the match, with a sublime free-kick. One has to admire how a player such as Neymar can produce when the weight of expectation of an entire country lies on his shoulders.
But the cheers would turn to jeers about fifteen minutes into the second half when great work down the right by Germany's Jeremy Toljan, cutting the ball into the box, set up an inch-perfect strike from Schalke's Max Meyer past Weverton in the Brazil goal.
GOAL! It’s an equaliser for Germany! Max Meyer with the goal #GERvSWE #bra 1 - #ger -1 #Rio2016 #Olympics pic.twitter.com/6LBzVubrNz
— Sports News (@eDailySports) August 20, 2016
The tension ratcheted up after the goal, with some desperate German defending, big chances for Felipe Anderson, a near miss from Neymar and a half-hearted penalty claim for Brazil before the final whistle blew, sending us to another thirty minutes of energy-sapping, nervous action.
Extra-time was unsurprisingly extremely cagey, with Luan and Brandt going close for both sides and Anderson again squandering a golden opportunity before we settled in for one of the most tense penalty shoot-outs in recent memory.
It all came down to the final two penalties, from Germany's Petersen and, inevitably, Neymar. Incredible.