Today’s men’s Olympic semi-final football clash between Brazil and Mexico was actually a rematch of the 2012 final in London, which Brazil ultimately lost 2 - 1.
That loss was avenged today, as defending champions Brazil took the Mexicans all the way to a penalty shootout and beat them after a goalless 120 minutes.
Brazil, who started the first half as the stronger team, struggled in the second half to continue imposing their play. Their biggest moment came late in regulation, when Richarlison missed a great chance to break the deadlock after receiving a good cross from Dani Alves.
Real Madrid’s Reinier Jesus started this game on the bench (as is the case for all of Brazil’s games during these Olympics), but did come on in the 72nd minute for Claudinho.
Reinier’s big moment came in the penalty shootout, where, with his team up 3 - 1 on penalties, he stepped up to the plate knowing a goal would send his nation through to the final, and he made no mistake:
“We deserved it, and in the end that was the feeling we got,” Brazil head coach Andre Jardine said after the game. “If you deserve to win during the game, things happen on penalties. “Mexico have a great level. It’s a team that defends very well and is also very dangerous in attack. It demanded a lot of concentration from us.”
Brazil now await the winner of the Japan - Spain game.