It is not often the hosts win Olympic gold in football, but the Spanish did just that and in dramatic fashion.
To avoid extra-time Spain put their own twist on it, rallying from a 1-0 deficit in the second half to defeat Poland at Nou Camp Stadium. Francisco "Quico" Narvaez scored 25 seconds into stoppage time, chipping a loose ball over goalkeeper Aleksander Klak before a crowd of 95,000 in the Nou Camp Stadium that included King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Wojciech Kowalczyk had opened the scoring for Poland six seconds into first-half injury time. Ten minutes after King Juan Carlos had entered the stadium, Spain tied it on Abelardo's header in the 65th minute. Quico lifted the hosts into the lead in the 70th minute, but Poland tied it on a Ryszard Staniek goal six minutes later, setting up one fantastic finish.
Spain had rolled through the first round, blanking Colombia, 4-0, Egypt, 2-0, and Qatar, 2-0. The Spanish edged pre-tourney favourites Italy in the quarter-finals, 1-0, on a Quico goal before shutting down Ghana, 2-0, in the semi-finals.
Ghana, who had the youngest team by far in the competition (18.8 years), were a surprise bronze medallists, becoming the first African nation to earn a medal. They did so in a 1-0 victory over yet another surprise, Australia, finishing the match with their No. 3 goalkeeper, Simon Addo in the nets after Ibrahim Dossey was forced out with an injury. Ghana won on a free-kick goal by Isaac Asare in the 20th minute five minutes after Dossey had saved an Australian penalty.
While the football tournament was an artistic success, organizers were disappointed with the overall attendance in comparison to recent successful competitions. Only 466,300 spectators attended the 32 games, a disappointing average of 14,572 per match. Spanish football fans missed out on seeing many international stars of tomorrow, including Colombian Faustino Asprilla, Swede Tomas Brolin, Italian Dino Baggio, Australian Mark Bosnich and Spain's own Luis Enrique.