LONDON: Brazil coach Mano Menezes insists there is no chance his players will underestimate Mexico as the five-time world champions look to win a first Olympic gold in the men’s final at Wembley tomorrow.
While Brazil have graced the World Cup with some of the best players and most dazzling performances ever seen on football’s grandest stage, the Selecao have never managed to replicate those golden moments at the Games.
Brazil were bronze medallists in 2008 but this weekend’s showdown with Mexico will be their first Olympic final since 1988 in Seoul, when a team led by Romario and Bebeto finished with the silver.
The pick of the bunch have been Chelsea’s new playmaker Oscar, Santos striker Neymar and Internacional forward Leandro Damiao, who struck twice in the semi-final win over South Korea. But Menezes knows the dangers of allowing his much-praised players to rest on their laurels against a Mexico side going for a first gold in their maiden Olympic final.
“I expect a very difficult final,” said Menezes. “Mexico have prepared well. They look very strong. The players are very calm, not over-euphoric about being in the final.
“But our team should be congratulated, they have come a long way since May when they were nowhere and now they are in an Olympic final. It has been 24 years since Brazil have been in the final, which shows how difficult it is to get there.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2012.
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