Luciano Gondou (file photo). Alamy Stock Photo

Brazil's three in-a-row Olympics bid ends as Argentina knock champions out

Brazil reigned supreme at Rio 2016 and the Covid-delayed 2020 Tokyo Games.

BRAZIL WERE DENIED the chance of winning a third straight men’s Olympic football title after a 1-0 defeat to Argentina on Sunday knocked them out of qualifying for the Paris Games.

Champions in Rio 2016 and the Covid-delayed 2020 Tokyo Games, Brazil only needed a draw against their arch continental rivals on the final day of the South American pre-Olympic tournament in Venezuela.

But it is Argentina who now go to France, seeking a third title after 2004 and 2008, courtesy of Luciano Gondou’s second-half goal in Caracas.

Paraguay claimed the other ticket to Paris 2024 from South America with a 2-0 victory over Venezuela.

Midfielder Diego Gomez, with a penalty in the 48th minute, and forward Marcelo Perez in the 75th minute scored the goals for Carlos Jara Saguier’s Paraguay, who topped the standings in the qualifying tournament ahead of Argentina.

The qualifying tournament was restricted to under-23 players, unlike at the Olympics, where teams are allowed to call on the services of three overage reinforcements.

And Argentina will now be on the phone to try to persuade one very special 36-year-old player, Lionel Messi who starred in the 2008 run to Olympic gold, to join them in Paris.

“Everyone knows my relationship with Leo… and the doors are open for him to join us,” said coach Javier Mascherano, a long-time former team-mate of Messi’s with Argentina.

“It’s up to him.”

– © AFP 2024

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