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Well worth the wait: Neymar stars as Brazil men’s soccer gets first Olympic gold

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Weverton’s save and Neymar’s decisive penalty kick gave Brazil the last of the unplucked gems, as the storied soccer nation finally added a gold medal to its trophy case.

Neymar’s 27th minute free kick gave Brazil an early lead, but Max Meyer managed to bring it all back for Germany in the second half in a 1-1 game that ended 5-4 in penalty kicks at the Maracana on Saturday.

Brazil looked the better for a goal in extra time, but it didn’t come. It doesn’t matter. One of the world’s most celebrated soccer nations had struck gold.

WATCH: Full match replay

There were fireworks a plenty in the gold medal match, as both sides had historic gold in view.

Serge Gnabry picked up a splendid diagonal ball toward the left corner, and worked two defenders before finding Julian Brandt. His curling shot was a beautiful thing and beat Weverton but clanged off the crossbar.

At the other end, Luan couldn’t make proper contact with a cut back cross from Douglas Costa, bouncing his attempt wide.

That’s when Neymar’s goal put victory on the table for Brazil, after a mazey move down the left that was cut short by a harsh tackle from Matthias Ginter.

Barcelona’s dribbling daredevil took his chance well, curling a vicious free kick that had a bit of grace, too. It hit the bar and went in to give Brazil its 1-0 lead. Was Brazil on the verge of glory?

Soon after, Sven Bender bent a header off the same woodwork for Germany. It felt more goals were inevitable, as Brazil looked for the luxury of an insurance goal and the Germans aimed to get back again.

Schalke’s Meyer was lively all match, and looking for a place to happen when he equalized in the 59th minute. Jeremy Toljan streaked down the right wing to cut back a ball toward the penalty spot that Meyer belted to the right of a diving Weverton.

Germany's Maximilian Meyer celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the final match of the men's Olympic football tournament between Brazil and Germany at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
(AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Was Brazil playing scared with the lead? Conceding woke the hosts up, and they had the better of both possession and chances in the next few minutes. Gabriel Jesus looked to have a shot deflected out of play for a corner by Toljan, but the referee didn’t see it that way.

It seemed there was something on when Neymar presided over a free kick from further out in the 74th minute. The captain chipped the offering over the wall on a set play, but Germany goalkeeper Timo Horn had the wherewithal to collect the ball.

Brazil camped in the Germany end for the rest of the second half, bar a counter attack or two. Still, the gold medal game was sent into extra time.

Neymar continued to shine, more as a playmaker, in the extra periods. He picked out Felipe Anderson early in the second session, but Horn came out to make the save.

It was time for PKs. The selection was quick, the crew was picked in order:

GER: Ginter scores
BRA: Renato Augusto scores
GER: Gnabry scores
BRA: Marquinhos scores
GER: Brandt scores
BRA: Rafinha scores
GER: Sule scores
BRA: Luan scores
GER: Petersen saved
BRA: Neymar scored

The pendulum swings for Brazil, who was low on momentum after the women were eliminated on the heels of a poor Copa America Centenario and an embarrassing home 7-1 World Cup ouster at the hands of Germany.

Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final