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In Group C, meanwhile, Germany also got off to a slow start with two draws, albeit with no problems finding the net. Following a 2-2 draw against reigning Olympic champions Mexico, they shared six goals with the Republic of Korea. Their final group game turned into a goalfest, as they dispatched Fiji 10-0! In the quarter finals, Germany continued their free scoring with a 4-0 demolition of fellow Europeans Portugal, to set up a semi-final against Nigeria. The West Africans were defeated 2-0, which ensured that Rio’s famous Maracanã stadium would host a rematch of the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final, in which the hosts Brazil had suffered the worst defeat in their history, losing to the Germans 7-1.
Neymar opened the scoring in the first half with a brilliant free-kick from 20 metres, but the hosts were somewhat lucky to go in at half-time with the lead, as Germany hit the woodwork no less than three times. Shortly after the restart the Europeans scored a deserved equaliser shortly after the re-start. Sven Bender passed to the overlapping Jeremy Toljan and he found the unmarked Max Meyer, who arrowed a low shot into the net. After that, neither side could find a win-ner, which meant that the destiny of the gold medal would be determined in a penalty shoot-out.
That meant an all-European battle for the gold featuring two teams that had never previously reached an Olympic final. Germany had featured on the podium on three successive occasions, in 2000, 2004 and 2008, but on each one the colour of their medal had been bronze. Sweden meanwhile reached the final having won just one match in normal time, a 1-0 victory over South Africa in the group stage, and they had snuck through to the quarter-finals in third place in Group E.