On Sunday night, in the hot city of Caracas, the Brazil Under-23 National Team, the reigning two-time Olympic football discipline champion, suffered a historic setback by being eliminated from the Paris 2024 Olympics after losing to Argentina by 0-1 thanks to a solitary goal by Luciano Gondou.
Although the Brazilian Pre-Olympic Team managed to solidly advance through the group stage, things became significantly complicated in the Final Phase of the tournament. The team led by Ramon Menezes fell to Paraguay by 0-1, controversially defeated Venezuela by 1-2, and ultimately suffered the aforementioned loss to Argentina, which was decisive for the Amarelinha, who missed out on the Olympics for the first time in 20 years.
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Brazil had not missed out on an Olympic Games since Athens 2004
The last time Brazil failed to advance through the Final Phase of the Pre-Olympic was in 2004. In that tournament stage, Brazil also faced Argentina and Paraguay, but instead of Venezuela, the fourth team was Chile, losing two matches and only winning one.
Eventually, at the Olympic Games, Argentina would win the gold medal after defeating Paraguay in the final.
Which footballers were playing in Brazil the last time they missed out on an Olympics?
Just like in 2024, the elimination in 2004 was a real surprise due to the large number of promising players in that Under-23 team.
In goal, names like Gomes and Juninho stood out. As full-backs, Maicon and Maxwell shone above the rest, while in central defense there were players like Rodolfo, Alex, or Luisao.
In midfield, emerging stars were not lacking, as players like Elano, Diego, Paulinho, Wendell, or Dudu saw playing time in that tournament. Up front, in the attacking area, players like Marcel, Nilmar, or Robinho stood out, with Robinho being one of the most prominent of that generation.
Robson, Diego, and Marcel Ortolan were Brazil’s top scorers in that tournament, each scoring three goals.