A single goal against Nigeria in the final was enough to give Argentina gold in the scorching Beijing heat.
Saturday August 23rd
Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 (2008 Olympics Final in Beijing)
A through ball from Messi in the 58th minute fed Angel di Maria who lifted the ball past Nigeria keeper Ambruse Vanzekin to decide the match. Nigeria created very few chances and had to settle for silver as the midday sun took its toll. Brazil had won bronze a day earlier with a convincing but somewhat flattering 3-0 win over Belgium.
Di Maria strikes gold in Beijing
In the men's group stages Argentina, Nigeria, Brazil and Italy had finished top of their groups, but Italy were eliminated by Belgium who despite playing for most of the match with 10 men, twice came from behind to win 3-2. Belgiun dreams were shattered 4-1 at the hands of Nigeria in the semi-finals which also saw Argentina ease past arch rivals Brazil 3-0 to reach the final.
In the women's group stages hosts China topped the first group ahead of Sweden, Brazil finished ahead of Germany in the 2nd group on goal difference, and the USA also needed goal difference to win group 3 above Norway. Canada and Japan progressed to the next round as the best teams to finish 3rd in their groups. In the quarter-finals USA and Germany needed extra time to overcome Canada and Sweden respectively. A stylish Japanese side, who had thrashed Norway 5-1 in their group match, ended the hopes of hosts China with a 2-0 win in the quarter-finals, but were stopped by the American girls who booked their place in the final with a 4-2 victory. Brazil came from behind in the other semi-final to demolish Germany 4-1. In the women's final Carli Lloyd struck a powerful low shot past Brazilian keeper Barbara 6 minutes into extra time to win the USA another gold. Bajramaj scored both goals as Germany defeated Japan 2-0 for the bronze.