Argentina eliminates Brazil from Olympic men’s soccer qualifying, ends three-peat bid
Brazil will not bid for an unprecedented third consecutive Olympic men’s soccer title in Paris after losing to Argentina in its last South American qualifier with one Olympic spot at stake.
Argentina won 1-0 on a Luciano Gondou goal in the 78th minute of a match in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday.
Argentina and either Paraguay will be South America’s two representatives in the 16-team Olympic men’s soccer tournament, which is mostly for players 23 years and younger.
Brazil needed a win or a draw against Argentina to qualify for the Olympics in the last stage of South American qualifying.
Brazil lost its opening match to Paraguay in a four-team group, then beat Venezuela 2-1. Argentina tied Venezuela and Paraguay. Those results meant that one of Brazil or Argentina would qualify for Paris, but not both.
Brazil will miss the Olympic men’s tournament for the first time since 2004.
In Rio in 2016, Brazil earned its first Olympic soccer title in dramatic fashion. Neymar scored the winning penalty kick in a shootout against Germany at the Maracanã.
In Tokyo in 2021, Brazil again went undefeated, beating Spain in the final on Malcom’s 108th-minute goal.
Argentina, meanwhile, goes for its third Olympic title after winning in 2004 and 2008.
The latter triumph came with a 21-year-old Lionel Messi on the team. Messi could return to the Olympics this summer.
Argentina would have to use one of its three over-age roster spots on him, and Inter Miami would have to agree to let him play.
Inter Miami has to make Messi available for the three-week Copa America, which is hosted by the U.S., includes Miami as a venue and ends two weeks before the Olympics.
If Messi is on Argentina’s Copa America roster, Inter Miami may be less inclined to let him extend his absence from the club by taking part in the Olympics, too.