ABOUT THE MATCH
Brazil’s first participation in the Olympics was in Helsinki, Finland, in 1952. In that year, Brazil reached the quarter-finals, when they were eliminated by West Germany 4–2. In 1960, in Rome, Italy, in 1964 in Tokyo, Japan, in 1968 in Mexico City, Mexico, and in 1972 in Berlin, West Germany, Brazil was eliminated in the first stage.
In Montreal, 1976, Brazil was defeated by Poland 2–0 in the semi-finals, then Brazil was defeated by the Soviet Union 2–0 in the bronze medal match, finishing in the fourth place. In these six participations, Brazil was represented by a team of junior or non-professional players as the Olympics did not allow professional players to participate during this period, all while state-sponsored communist players were allowed to compete.
Starting in 1984, professional players were allowed to participate. However, European and South American teams, as traditional football powerhouses that won every single FIFA World Cup, were restricted to players with no more than five “A” caps at the start of the tournament. Brazil won its first medal in 1984, in Los Angeles, United States. In the group stage, Brazil beat Saudi Arabia 3–1, West Germany 1–0 and Morocco 2–0. In the quarter-finals Brazil defeated Canada in the penalty shootout, then they beat Italy 2–1 after extra-time in the semi-finals, but was beaten by France 2–0 in the gold medal Match, thus winning the silver medal.
The second Brazilian silver medal was won in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988. Brazil won the medal after defeating in the group stage Nigeria 4–0, Australia 3–0 and Yugoslavia 2–1. In the quarter-finals Brazil beat their South American rivals Argentina 1–0, then defeated West Germany in the penalty shootout, but was defeated by the Soviet Union 2–1 after extra time in the gold medal match. Romário was the competition’s top goal scorer with seven goals.
Starting in 1992, only players under the age of 23 were allowed to participate, with an exception of three overage players in the team. Brazil, managed by senior team coach, Mário Zagallo, won the bronze medal for the first time in 1996, in Atlanta, United States. In the group stage, Brazil was beaten by Japan 1–0 in the first match, then they beat Hungary 3–1 and Nigeria 1–0, finishing in the group’s first position. After beating Ghana 4–2 in the quarter-finals, Brazil was defeated by Nigeria 4–3 after extra time. In the bronze medal match, Brazil beat Portugal 5–0.