Neymar prepared to help Brazil 'leave with the gold medal' at Wembley against Mexico

 

For Brazil, the Olympic football final means a chance to end decades of frustration. For Neymar, it's just another match.

Neymar says he is not approaching Saturday's final against Mexico much differently than any other match he has played with Brazil so far, even though it can give his nation its coveted first gold in football. It's the only title the five-time world champions have yet to win. 

It will be Neymar's first major final since he became widely seen as the future of Brazilian football, the player responsible for leading the nation at the Olympics and at the 2014 World Cup at home. 

The 20-year-old striker says he is excited with the chance to make history with Brazil, but is not expecting anything new when the ball starts rolling at Wembley. 

"Every match is important to me, whether it's a final or a league match," Neymar said. "It will be my first final with Brazil and I'm proud to be here representing the country in such an important moment like this, our first Olympic final in 24 years. But there are no secrets, really, it's final like any other, worth a title, so you have to play focused from the beginning to come out victorious." 

Brazil are playing their third Olympic final but the first since the 1988 Seoul Games. It also played for the gold in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. The Brazilians earned their second bronze medal in 2008 in Beijing, and this time only the gold will do as it came to the London Games with most of its top players and as a favourite. 

Neymar is the team's biggest star and one of its main leaders despite not having played many decisive matches with Brazil until now. 

The skillful striker, who has a contract with Brazilian club Santos through the 2014 World Cup, helped Brazil's under-20 squad win the South American championship last year, a result that qualified Brazil for the London Olympics. But his only significant competition with the senior team was the 2011 Copa America, when Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals. 

"He is continuing to develop and this is another important step for him and the other players," Brazil coach Mano Menezes said. 

To win the gold on Saturday, Neymar said Brazil needs to keep it simple. 

"There's no mystery," he said. "We have to keep doing what we have been doing so far in the tournament, it has been working." 

Brazil has dominated the Olympic tournament from the beginning, winning all of its five matches and scoring three goals in each of them. Neymar had a sub-par performance in the opener against Egypt but improved and played well after that, scoring three goals and setting up several others. 

He knows the Brazilian fans are expecting him to come up with another big performance in the final. 

"My job is to help the national team win," Neymar said. "I'll be trying my best again in the final, either by scoring goals or setting up my teammates. No Brazilian has ever won this and I feel I'm prepared to help the team leave with the gold medal." 

If Brazil does win, Neymar will be surpassing the Olympic achievements of former Brazil greats like Romario, Bebeto and Ronaldo. Romario and Bebeto got the silver in 1988, while Ronaldo left with the bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Games. 

AP

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?