Brazil can now redeem honour against Germany
NEYMAR scored twice, including the fastest goal in Olympic history, as Brazil set up a blockbuster revenge showdown with Germany for Olympic gold by thrashing Honduras 6-0 on Wednesday.
The sides will meet on Saturday at the Maracana just two years after Germany inflicted Brazil's heaviest defeat of all time in a 7-1 thrashing in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals at the same stadium.
World champions Germany reached their first Olympic final as a unified nation as Lukas Klostermann and Nils Petersen netted in a 2-0 win over Nigeria in Sao Paulo.
Neymar had been much criticised for lacklustre displays in two 0-0 draws to start the tournament. But his transformation from the nation's whipping boy back to golden boy was capped by his determination to open the scoring after just 15 seconds.
"Neymar is a monster.
"He has the gift of playing football, he delights everyone with his talent," said Brazil coach Rogerio Micale.
The Barcelona star hounded defender Johnny Palacios to rob possession on the edge of the Honduras box.
Goalkeeper Luis Lopez's attempt to atone for his team-mate's error only ricocheted the ball off Neymar's midriff and into an empty goal.
For a moment, Neymar's bravery looked like it may have come at a cost.
He was stretchered off after being winded in the challenge.
However, there was no repeat of Neymar's injury in a brutal World Cup quarter-final win against Colombia, as the 24-year-old was soon back terrorising the Honduras defence.
Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto believes Neymar's star billing offered the player too much protection.
"Neymar is the best or second best payer in world football so controlling him is not easy," said Pinto. His side still have the chance to land Honduras' first-ever medal in Friday's bronze-medal match.
"But the referees are falling into his trap."