Brazil lost 1-0 to Argentina in the Pre-Olympic Tournament and couldn’t secure one of the two spots up for grabs for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The only goal of the match came 12 minutes from the end with a header by Luciano Gondou, which earned Argentina the ticket to France.
The Seleção arrived at the Brígido Iriarte Stadium in Caracas as the clear favorite, given its current form and recent history: they won the gold medal in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. However, they lacked sharpness in attack and failed to capitalize on the few clear chances they created, facing a solid performance from goalkeeper Leandro Brey.
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The first half saw opportunities, but also nerves from both teams due to what was at stake. In the second half, the introduction of John Kennedy added weight to the attack of the team led by Ramon Menezes.
The forward from Fluminense was involved in a great play that eventually fell to Gabriel Pec, another substitute, whose shot was saved by Brey. Shortly after, Kennedy once again broke through and took a shot that was again blocked by the Argentine goalkeeper.
In the 78th minute, during Brazil’s best spell, the deadlock was broken with a wonderful cross from Valentín Barco, the former Boca player who will join Brighton in England, finding Gondou in the heart of the box. His header found the top corner of Mycael’s goal, leaving him helpless despite his effort.
It was the fourth goal for the Argentinos Juniors striker, the top scorer in the Pre-Olympic tournament under the guidance of Javier Mascherano. From then on, the dynamics of the match changed: Seleção couldn’t recover from the blow, and Argentina couldn’t capitalize on defensive gaps to extend their lead.
The other ticket will be decided in the match between Paraguay and Venezuela. Paraguay enters with four points and a draw secures their passage, while Venezuela needs a big win to make it to Paris.