Brazil Manager Mano Menezes and starlet Neymar have jumped to Rafael’s defence, after the right back has come in for heavy criticism following Brazil’s 2-1 loss to Mexico in the Olympic finals.
Rafael’s error after 29 seconds gifted Mexico their opener, and he was subbed off late in the game following a row with Juan when the centerback reprimanded him for losing the ball cheaply and putting the team under pressure.
The Brazil team was expected to win gold with a host of fledgling stars amongst their ranks, but the Selecao tasted defeat for a third time in an Olympic finals following a disjointed performance, and Menezes feels that the blame should lie with the whole team rather than just an individual:
“The commitment of all the team got us here and we cannot forget that. The mistake was after 29 seconds, we had over 89 minutes to change that.
“We lost the whole match, not because of an individual error.”
Neymar echoed his manager’s word claiming that the whole team had a hand in the defeat:
“We all made mistakes, not only Rafael. I missed the chance of a goal, Oscar also. We all messed up passes.
“We are not going to blame it on Rafael because he made a mistake. It’s normal. Unfortunately they made a goal, but the fault [for the defeat] is in no way Rafael’s.”