Managers from both teams adamant the 7-1 German win in the 2014 World Cup means nothing for the final on Saturday (20 August)
It wasn’t a pretty sight the last time Brazil and Germany met in a major international tournament. The Germans scored five goals in the first half – including four in a six-minute span – each adding more and more pain to the Brazilian crowd who packed in the Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte hoping to celebrate their team going to the final. But as the two sides prepare to meet again on Saturday – this time at the Maracanã for Olympic gold – both managers are adamant that the World Cup match means nothing now. Rio-Time Updates: follow all the action on our live blog “That was the World Cup,” Brazil head coach Rogerio Micale said. “This is the Olympic team. Neymar never played in that match so there is nothing that could generate any type of feeling that we have to take revenge. It is a different time with different players and ages.” The biggest difference in the World Cup rematch will be the players on the field. Teams in the Olympic men’s football competition are comprised primarily of players under the age of 23 with only three players over 23 able to participate. Not one player from either side was on the pitch for that game on 8 July 2014. Nils Petersen of Germany wins a header in a 2–0 win over Nigeria in the men's football semi-final. The Germans will face Brazil on Saturday for the gold medal. (Photo: Getty Images/Alexandre Schneider) “What counts is this game, the Olympic final,” German head coach Horst Hrubesch said. “It is a different team and we are here to live our dream right to the end.” Brazil enters Saturday’s contest with offensive momentum after a slow start to the tournament. The hosts struggled to get out of the group stage, going 206 minutes without scoring a goal before getting four to advance to the quarter-finals. Once in the knock-out rounds, Brazil has turned it up, defeating South American rivals Colombia 2–0 and dispatching surprise semi-finalists Honduras 6–0 to reach the final.
Micale said he wants to change the style his team plays to face Germans but said they can’t get too far from what got them here. “We know the tendency in world football is for organisation and pressuring opponents and it is necessary,” Micale said. “But we cannot just forget our very essence and that we have players with the ability to change a game in one moment of brilliance. That is why so many teams from Europe come down to South America to get our players.” Germany also had difficulties getting through the group stage. The Germans scored five goals in the first two contests, but only managed draws in both matches. A resounding 10–0 win over Fiji sent them into the next round. Germany scored six goals in their two knock-out games, 4-0 against Portugal and 2-0 against Nigeria, to easily advance to the finals. Unlike Micale, Hrubesch said he isn’t planning on making any big changes for the final. He also isn’t concerned with his young players playing in front of a large, hostile crowd. Oscar of Brazil lies down in defeat as the German players celebrate a 7–1 win over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup. (Photo: Getty Images/Robert Cianflone) “What could be a greater experience for a young player than to be here at the Maracana for the final of an Olympic Games, playing in front of nearly 80,000 people?” Hrubesch said. “We have experienced players who will help them.” Saturday’s final will bring a lot of pressure, especially for Brazil. The pressure, whether rightly or wrongly placed, of making up for the World Cup loss to Brazil. The pressure to be the first hosts to win a men’s football gold medal on home soil. The pressure to get back on top of the football world. But Micale said they won’t be focusing on that when they step out onto the pitch. “Emotionally on Saturday we will be strong as we have gone through so much already,” Micale said. “During the tournament there have been questions and doubts. Now we just have to do our final match and we will do our best.”