RIO DE JANEIRO,(Pakistan Point News - APP - 5th Augst,2016) - Brazil captain Neymar slammed his side's goalless draw with South Africa to start their Rio 2016 campaign as "a defeat" and insisted there would be no easy path to a maiden Olympic gold. Neymar and Brazilian football's newest golden boys Gabriel Jesus, who completed a $35.4 million (31.7 million Euros) move to Manchester City on Wednesday, and Gabriel Barbosa attracted a nearly capacity 70,000 crowd in Brasilia.
However, instead of launching the Games in style as expected, Brazil stumbled against a South Africa side reduced to 10 men for the final half hour. "For us the draw is a defeat," said Neymar. "The team went on the field to win, we know our responsibility, we know it isn't going to be easy. "It is not just a case of turning up and winning the gold medal." The scene was set for Neymar to heal the wounded pride of Brazilian football just two years after a humiliating 7-1 defeat suffered at the hands of Germany in the semi-finals of their own World Cup.
Football gold for Brazil is also seen as a key to winning the hearts and minds of a Brazilian public divided by the funds needed to host the greatest show on earth at a time of huge financial crisis. Yet, once again Brazil failed to live up to expectations despite also having the talents of Barcelona's Rafinha and Marquinhos of Paris Saint-Germain. "We are going to come across difficulties," added Neymar, who skipped the Copa America in June to lead his nation's bid for a first ever football Olympic gold.
"We need to know how to overcome them, but we need to remain calm and do things well so that we can play well on Sunday." Next up for Brazil are Iraq, who also drew 0-0 with Denmark in their Group A opener. Brazil's troubles were slightly eased as eternal rivals Argentina also suffered an opening game to forget as they lost 2-0 to Portugal in Rio. Both sides are on the lookout for fresh talent for the post Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi era.
Messi's only honour at international level came in the 2008 Olympics when he led a richly talented team including Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Javier Mascherano to gold. Men's Olympic sides are comprised of players 23 or under with each country allowed three overage players. However, clubs aren't compelled to release players as they are for World Cups or major regional tournaments. And with the seasons in Europe's major leagues due to start in the next few weeks both Portugal and Argentina are lacking even their best under-23 players for the tournament in Brazil.
"I feel for the players that couldnt be here because, no matter the result, an Olympics is a once in a lifetime experience to live in the village with the best athletes in the world," said Argentina coach Julio Olarticoechea. "I feel for the players that couldn't come because of the European clubs."