A Sara Daebritz free-kick from 20 yards smacked the post and Linda Sembrandt tried to clear but instead kneed the ball into her own goal from just a few yards out.
Neymar scored the decisive penalty as Brazil claimed Olympic gold with a tense shootout win over Germany at the Maracana.
Neymar scored the clinching goal for Brazil with a nifty penalty kick in a victory that touched off celebrations all across the soccer-obsessed nation.
The attendances in stadiums have certainly reflected that, with sports outside those traditionally favoured in Brazil seeing many rows of empty seats.
Germany, playing with a young team that looked nothing like the World Cup-winning squad, made it hard for Brazil, hitting crossbar three times in the first half and sending the game into extra time after a 59th minute equalizer by captain Maximilian Meyer.
During the men’s 1,500-meter race, US track and field athlete Matt Centrowitz became the first American to win gold in that event since 1908.
But Neymar took the pressure off of the nervous Maracana crowd when he delivered a perfectly placed free kick past Germany keeper Timo Horn to open the scoring in the 27th minute.
Bettancourt, 19, hadn’t enjoyed an Olympic soccer championship in her lifetime because, despite being one of the world’s most traditionally soccer-rich countries, Brazil had never won one.
Brazil’s trophy case is finally complete.
The wounds remain raw two years on from a 7-1 World Cup semi-final shellacking that not only saw the Selecao lose the chance of winning on home turf but their dignity.
Inevitably, it came down to the roulette of penalties, and, fittingly, Neymar’s last kick of the Olympic men’s 2016 football tournament was pure gold.
“It was an honour, something that I received with all my heart”, the Brazilian footballer said.
The fact that Germany has a near-perfect record in the dreaded shootout, according to USA Today, could have been seen as an omen that the wait for Brazil’s first soccer gold at the Olympics would not end here.
“I think the first gold medal can mark the new era for Brazilian football”.
The Germany-Brazil soccer featured almost entirely different rosters from the 2014 World Cup that marked a low point for Brazilian sports.
Brazil, though, know all too well that such emotion is not always enough and Germany fired a warning shot in the 10th minute, with Julian Brandt curling a handsome strike that rattled both the crossbar and partisan crowd.
“The only thing on my mind was I had to do this”, said Neymar, who stepped down as captain after the game. “I can’t begin to describe them (my feelings). Will all due respect to everybody who has a handsome history and tried for a long time, God put this generation in this position to make history and we did”.