For Brazil, the Olympic soccer final means a chance to end decades of frustration. For Neymar, it's just another match.
Neymar said he will not approach Saturday's final against Mexico much differently than any other match, even though it can give Brazil its coveted first Olympic gold in soccer. It's the only title the five-time World Cup champions have yet to win.
It will be the 20year-old Neymar's first big international final since he became widely seen as the future of Brazilian soccer, the player responsible for leading the nation at the Olympics and at the 2014 World Cup at home.
"Every match is important to me, whether it's a final or a league match," Neymar said. "It will be my first final with Brazil and I'm proud to be here representing the country in such an important moment like this, our first Olympic final in 24 years.
"But there are no secrets, really. It's a final like any other, worth a title, so you have to play focused from the beginning to come out victorious."
Brazil will be playing in its third Olympic final but the first since the 1988 Seoul Games. It also played for the gold in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. The Brazilians earned their second bronze medal in 2008 in Beijing, and this time only the gold will do as it came to the London Games with most of its top players.
Neymar is the team's biggest star and one of its main leaders despite not having played many decisive matches with Brazil until now.
The skillful striker, who has a contract with Brazilian club Santos through the 2014 World Cup, helped Brazil's under-20 team win the South American championship last year, a result that qualified Brazil for the London Olympics. But his only significant competition with the senior team was the 2011 Copa America, when Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
"He is continuing to develop and this is another important step for him and the other players," Brazil coach Mano Menezes said.
To win the gold on Saturday, Neymar said Brazil needs to keep it simple.
"There's no mystery," he said. "We have to keep doing what we have been doing so far in the tournament. It has been working."
Brazil has dominated the London Olympic tournament from the beginning, winning all of its five matches and scoring three goals in each of them. Neymar had a sub-par performance in the opener against Egypt but improved and played well after that, scoring three goals and setting up several others.
He knows the Brazilian fans are expecting him to come up with another big performance in the final.
"My job is to help the national team win," Neymar said. "I'll be trying my best again in the final, either by scoring goals or setting up my teammates. No Brazilian has ever won this and I feel I'm prepared to help the team leave with the gold medal."
If Brazil does win, Neymar will be surpassing the Olympic achievements of former Brazil greats like Romario, Bebeto and Ronaldo. Romario and Bebeto got the silver in 1988, while Ronaldo left with the bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
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