Soccer: Brazil hope gold medal can boost faltering senior team

Sun Aug 21, 2016 2:08pm EDT
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By Andrew Downie

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil are hopeful that their Olympic soccer triumph will give the faltering senior national side a boost as they head into two key World Cup qualifiers next month.

Although the Olympic tournament features under-23 teams, Brazil believe their win can signal a new beginning for the country's soccer which has been bedeviled by chaotic administration at home and poor results at senior level.

Brazil are sixth in the South American World Cup qualifying group – outside the qualifying places for Russia 2018 -- and were dumped out of the Copa America by Peru in June.

"This is a contribution to the national team but the situations are different," said Olympic team coach Rogerio Micale after his side beat Germany on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Saturday's final.

"It is a seed, the players are young so that is an excellent sign for the future."

The future starts on Monday, when senior national team coach Tite, appointed in July after Dunga was fired, names his first squad for qualifiers in Ecuador on Sept. 1 and at home to Colombia five days later.

But, amid the euphoria over the gold medal, Tite is already facing a dilemma.

One of the first things that Neymar did after netting the winning penalty on Saturday was to renounce the captaincy of the senior team.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Soccer - Victory Ceremony - Men's Football Tournament Victory Ceremony - Maracana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 20/08/2016. Neymar (BRA) of Brazil and teammates pose for a selfie as they receive their gold medals.  REUTERS/Bruno Kelly