Manchester United right-back Rafael da Silva has been singled out for criticism by the Brazil Football Confederation for his mistake in the Selecao's 2-1 defeat against Mexico in the London 2012 Olympic gold medal match.
The 21-year-old was an ever-present
throughout the tournament, but in the first minute of the final he dwelt
on the ball, and after coming under pressure delivered a loose pass
into the centre of the pitch, where it was intercepted on the edge of
the box for Oribe Peralta to finish.
Brazil went on to struggle
to create chances and Peralta went on to head a second in the
second-half. Although Hulk managed to pull a goal back in stoppage time,
it was not enough to prevent Brazil, who have never claimed the Olympic
gold medal, having to settle for silver.
"Rafael knows he made a mistake that led to
the first Mexican goal in the Olympic football final in the London 2012
Games," read the Brazil Football Confederation’s website.
"There's no denying it. Nevertheless, with his skill and determination, the young No.2 can't be tainted by the error.
The unusual step contrasted with the approach
of other members of the national team, including coach Mano Menezes who
emphasised that his team were unable to equalise over the course of the
match, and forward Neymar who believed all the players shared
Menezes has been under pressure as Brazil prepare
to host the 2014 World Cup and has come under heavy fire following the
defeat, including from former national team striker Romario who
indicated it could be his last game in charge.