The ramifications from Brazil's shock loss to Mexico in the gold medal match at the 2012 London Olympics are huge.
If you think this was just another meaningless tournament to the South American heavyweights, then you need to think again. This one mattered to them and it matters that they lost.
So much so that the Brazilian Football Confederation has taken the incredible step to single-out a player for the stunning 2-1 defeat—Manchester United defender Rafael, whose first-minute mistake gifted Mexico the opening goal of the match.
According to Eurosport, the 21-year-old was singled out for criticism on the Confederation's official website, reading that:
Right back Rafael knows he made a mistake that led to the first Mexican goal in the Olympic football final in the London 2012 Games.
There's no denying it. Nevertheless, with his skill and determination, the young No. 2 can't be tainted by the error.
Mistakes are for correcting. Rafael knows that. Later, when things have calmed down, he will surely look at the move and learn from it. At the end of the day, as the saying goes, to err is human and we learn from our mistakes.
Brazil have never won the gold medal for men's football at the Olympic Games and seemed destined to rectify that when they reached another Olympic final. The gold medal was theirs to be had—everyone expected them to win—and thus, when they lost, nobody could quite believe what had just unfolded in front of them.
Rafael was poor, as was most of Brazil throughout the gold medal match. Their star-studded lineup couldn't muster the go-forward that it had done so often throughout the competition and they could not find the back of the net no matter how hard the likes of Neymar, Oscar, Hulk and Leandro Damiao tried.
To single out a player like the Brazilian FA have seemingly done is wrong. The entire team wins or loses, and to point out one element as weaker than the rest doesn't do justice to what is a "team" sport and "team " gold medal.
They were simply beaten by a better team on the day in Mexico, who thoroughly deserve their inaugural Olympic gold medal.
But if you had any inclination to think that the Olympics weren't as important to Brazil, then think again. They wanted the gold medal—they wanted success—and are simply not happy with failure in the men's football competition.
Just ask Rafael.
Is Brazil right to single out Rafael for their gold medal defeat?
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