17.08.2016 22:28 h

Neymar deserves more respect - Brazil coach

Brazil Olympic coach Rogerio Micale described star forward Neymar as a "monster" who is too often criticised after inspiring the hosts into Saturday's gold medal match with a 6-0 thrashing of Honduras on Wednesday.

Neymar scored twice, including the fastest goal in Olympic history after just 15 seconds, as Brazil delighted a near capacity 78,000 crowd at Rio's iconic Maracana to move to within one win of delivering a first ever football gold medal.

"Neymar is a monster. He has the gift of playing football, he delights everyone with his talent," said Micale.

The sight of Neymar whipping up the crowd, whilst dancing with his shirt off at full-time completed a remarkable turnaround from the fierce criticism he received with Brazil on the verge of an embarrassing early exit a week ago.

Having drawn 0-0 against South Africa and Iraq in their opening two games, Brazil needed to beat Denmark in their final group game to ensure progress to the last eight.

However, three straight wins and 12 goals scored without reply has restored Neymar's reputation as Brazil's golden boy.

"Neymar has a lot of pressure on him. Right now he is enjoying a good moment, but a week ago he was suffering a difficult time with a lot of critics.

"He is the difference-maker in our group in the good sense.

"Neymar deserves our gratitude because he pushes Brazil to a higher level."

The Barcelona star hasn't forgotten the criticism he received, though, as he swerved the media after the match, drawing pantomime boos from local journalists.