Jo scored two goals and Diego added a third Friday to give
Brazil a 3-0 win over Belgium and the Olympic bronze medal in men's football.
Diego scored in the 27th minute when he darted in front of defender Tom de Mul
and knocked a cross from Rafinha past goalkeeper Logan Bailly.
Jo, who was filling in for the suspended Thiago Neves, scored the second just
before halftime, then slotted between Bailly's legs to add the third in injury
Led by two-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho, Brazil arrived in China on a
quest to win its first Olympic gold medal in football.
Instead, the South Americans picked up their second bronze medal, 12 years after
their third-place finish at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
"For the fourth time we got a medal for Brazil in the Olympics, and we are very
happy about it," Brazil coach Dunga said.
But it is not the medal a talented team came to China to win. The Brazilians had
their hearts set on gold, only to be denied in the semifinals by Argentina.
Dunga's players admitted it was tough to overcome the 3-0 semifinal loss to
their bitter rival, but were relieved not to head home empty-handed.
"In Brazil there's a lot of pressure about the gold, always winning," goalkeeper
Renan said. "We didn't get to the final but in the end we won the bronze, which
is also important."
Belgium, which was looking for its first football medal since winning gold at
the 1920 Antwerp Games, pushed forward in search of an equalizer in the closing
minutes of the first half.
Collecting a long ball on the counter in the 40th, De Mul waited as his
teammates raced upfield to join him, then fed an unmarked Maarten Martens with a
perfect cross just inside the box.
Martens controlled the ball and hit a low, left-footed blast that beat Renan,
but Breno slid and blocked the shot with his right leg.
Instead, it was Brazil that found the back of the net before the break.
Ronaldinho fed Ramires the ball as he raced into the box on the right. Bailly
blocked Ramires' blast from 10 meters, but the ball popped up behind him and Jo
headed the deflection into the open net.
Neither Jo nor Ramires are regular starters. The two were filling in for Thiago
Neves and Lucas, both of whom were forced to sit out the bronze-medal match
after picking up red cards against Argentina.
Other than having a hand in Jo's first goal, Ronaldinho had little impact on the
match. But Dunga stressed the AC Milan forward played a key leadership role
within the young squad during the competition, which gave him a chance to regain
the past form that made him one of the world's best.
"Ronaldinho is very important player to the team. He didn't prepare for the
tournament for the entire four months, he only trained with the team for 15 days,"
Dunga said. "He's important not just on the pitch, and we brought him here not
just for the Olympics but for the future."
Trailing 2-0, Belgium had little choice but to attack in the second half,
creating a handful of chances but never really looking capable of pulling one
back. Belgium's best opportunity came in the 82nd when Sepp de Roover found
space in the box, but Renan blocked the defender's shot from eight meters.
"I think we justified our position in the last four," Belgium coach Jean
Francois De Sart said. "Today we played a good match. We had a lot of chances
against Brazil, which is a big team with a lot of players.
"If you were to compare the value of the players of Brazil and Belgium, you have
a big difference, but on the field today you didn't see this big difference."