: Olympic Men: Spain vs. Cameroon (Gold Medal Match)
Incredible game, one of the best ever. Cameroon came in as the underdog to skillful Spain (the best team in the tournament, IMNSHO), and proved it quickly by giving up a free kick just outside the box less than two minutes in. Spain scored, and then just a minute later, were awarded a penalty kick on Jose Marie’s take down in the box. But Cameroon’s terrific 16-year-old keeper stopped the shot! Spain finally got another goal seconds before the half and went into the locker room safely up 2-0. But African teams are exciting to watch because they are so unpredictable, and a different Cameroon team came out. Within seconds they’d had a shot on goal, and push after push soon brought them their first goal (a lucky deflection off a Spanish player). More perseverance brought them a second, tying the score. Then Spain’s Gabri was red-carded for a bad foul and had to play with 10 men. Everything was going Cameroon’s way. With just seconds left in the game, Spain’s best player, Jose Marie, fell down in the box in an obvious dive and received his second yellow to be kicked out of the game! We go into overtime with Cameroon up two men (an odd coincidence, since Cameroon beat Brazil in overtime while down to nine men themselves).
In the first 10 minutes of overtime Cameroon put an incredible 5 or 6 point-blank shots on goal, only to by stopped by Spain’s quick keeper. Amazing turnaround for a game that started with Spain as the heavy favorite. But Spain played overtime intelligently — wasting time and slowing things down. Cameroon’s 120th minute goal should have counted, but a blind linesman called it offside and so it didn’t count. Spain got what they wanted: for the first time, an Olympic gold medal match would be decided by penalty kicks. Like most, I’d have given the edge to Spain on PKs, but Cameroon kicked coolly and calmly like pros. When Spain’s third kicker missed, it was all in Cameroon’s lap, and Wome’s finish put it beyond doubt: Cameroon beats Spain on PKs, 5-4, and wins the gold medal! It’s Cameroon’s first Olympic gold medal.