Brazil FA blame Manchester United defender Rafael for Mexico defeat
Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva has been singled out for criticism by the Brazil Football Confederation following the Seleção’s defeat in the Olympic Games final.
The 21-year-old right-back was ever-present in the starting eleven for Brazil during the tournament and he even scored during their group C game with Egypt, which they won 3-2.
However, in the first minute of the final against Mexico he dwelt on the ball and delivered a loose pass into the centre of the pitch, where it was intercepted on the edge of the box for striker Oribe Peralta to finish.
A statement on the Brazil FA’s official website read: "Rafael knows he made a mistake that led to the first Mexican goal in the Olympic football final in the London 2012 Games.
"There's no denying it. Nevertheless, with his skill and determination, the young No.2 can't be tainted by the error.”
Brazil struggled to bounce back from the early blow and conceded a second goal in the 74th minute. Porto striker Hulk pulled one back in injury time but it was not enough and the Seleção had to settle for the silver medal.
Rafael’s performance didn’t improve during the game and in the final few minutes he made another mistake which led to a furious argument with teammate Juan. He was substituted moments later and booed off the field by the fans inside Wembley Stadium.
"Mistakes are for correcting. Rafael knows that. Later, when things have calmed down, he will surely look at the move and learn from it. At the end of the day, as the saying goes, to err is human and we learn from our mistakes,” added the Brazil FA.
The unusual criticism from the officials contrasted with the approach of other members of the national team.
Coach Mano Menezes emphasised that his team were unable to equalise over the course of the other 89 minutes, and forward Neymar believed all the players shared responsibility.