Revenge on the menu in Beijing
© AFP

The gold-medal final of this year's Women's Olympic Football Tournament will pit Athens 2004 winners USA against runners-up Brazil. The South Americans, who many observers believed to be the better team in Greece four years ago, will be looking to make amends - and a bit of history - while the Americans will be out to avenge a 4-0 defeat by the Brazilians at the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007.

"I want to win this gold medal," was the honest assessment of Marta, the Seleção's creator and reigning FIFA Women's World Player of the Year. "It's my greatest desire to return to Brazil with a first women's trophy for my country."

Marta was in the squad on 26 August 2004 in Athens, losing out along with nine other members of the current team in extra time. Her tears on that day were testament to the frustration of this particular generation of Brazilian footballers, developing at an astonishing rate but still without a major piece of international silverware.

She was also the key figure when her side eliminated USA at China 2007, scoring twice and generally running riot in one of only two wins for Brazil over the Americans in 22 tries. And as the South American darlings will have this recent competitive boost, USA have won three friendlies in the last ten weeks over the Canarinhas, all by 1-0 scorelines.

Eight members of Pia Sundhage's current US team were in the side that mounted the podium in Athens four years ago, among them holding midfielder Shannon Boxx, Kate Markgraf, Heather O'Reilly and captain Christie Rampone.

"The last time we met Brazil, everything that could have gone wrong did," Markgraf told FIFA.com, referring to the 4-0 defeat in Hangzhou last year when she was stretchered off and USA were forced to play with ten women for the whole of the second half. "We know Brazil have a ton of really talented attacking players, but that was then and this is now."

Angela Hucles, who is the second-top scorer with four goals in these Beijing finals, is of similar mind, claiming: "We still have some negative feelings about the loss last year, and we'll be trying to set things straight in this gold medal game."

Boxx not looking back
Shannon Boxx, who was sent off in the last competitive meeting between the two last year, is not fazed by the past or consumed with revenge ahead of the classic final. "We've played them three times recently, so maybe all the bad feelings we've had about the loss last year got worked out in those games," she said after a 4-2 win over Japan in the semi-final. "We're not really thinking about last year. We're a different team and they're a different team."

USA will not have their ace striker Wambach to save them this time. The match-winner from 2004 suffered a broken leg in one of those friendlies against Brazil in the run-up to Beijing, adding just a little more spice to an already tantalising rivalry.