SHANGHAI, China (AFP) - Brazil overcame their deep frustration at not making the men's Olympic football final by putting away Belgium 3-0 to take the bronze medal consolation prize at Shanghai Stadium here Friday.
Goals by Diego and Jo in the first half and a second from Jo on full-time settled the outcome.
It was the second time they had met in these Olympics, after Brazil narrowly won their opening pool match 1-0, but this time the samba boys were not as laid back.
Although clearly demoralised by their 3-0 semi-final loss to Argentina, they had inspirational captain Ronaldinho to re-ignite their motivation with a masterful display in the midfield.
And the AC Milan star announced he was firmly back on the world stage.
"One month ago I was deciding about my life without playing for four months. Then the reality was totally different. From now, it's the return of Ronaldinho football," he said.
"We came here for gold, but we didn't deserve to beat Argentina.
"Now the bronze medal may not be important from a Brazilian's point of view but in the future we will be proud of it."
Werder Bremen midfielder Diego also pleaded for Brazilian fans to proud of the medal, even if it is bronze.
"We deserve respect as a group of players because we took some criticism after the defeat to Argentina," he said.
"Everyone came to China for a medal and we got one. It's not what we were expecting at the beginning but it's one of the most important awards."
Ronaldinho created numerous opportunities through the first half starting with a header that just sailed over the bar in the opening minutes.
A free kick by Ronaldinho then found Alex Silva unmarked to the right of the goal but his header went wide.
Belgium were able to absorb the pressure for the first quarter of the game, assisted by a lack of precision when it counted by Brazil, before Diego found the net to open the scoring.
A build up down the right flank by Manchester City's Jo had Belgium scrambling at the back.
In a quick one-two, Jo fed Rafinha whose cross to the goal mouth was picked by Diego with a first touch strike that Bailly had no chance of getting to.
A desperate Belgium fought to level the score and chances in quick succession by Maarten Martens and Thomas Vermaelen went dangerously close before Brazil came back to close out the half with a late goal by Jo.
Belgium refused to lie down but man-on-man pressure, while restricting the Brazilians, did not bear fruit for the Europeans with their best opportunity, a long-range shot by Kevin Mirallas easily covered by Renan.
The Brazilian goalkeeper was also called up on the last 10 minutes and deflected away a right-foot attempt by Sepp de Roover.
Brazil rarely troubled Bailly in the second half until time was up and a solo effort by Jo saw him take the ball just inside the Belgium and weave his way into the clear to hammer home Brazil's third goal.
The bronze medals adds to Brazil's collection of two silvers (1984, 1988) and another bronze at Atlanta in 1996, but again the one prize they want, an Olympic gold medal, has eluded the five times world champion.
Belgium at least have the history books to show they won the Olympic final at the 1920 Antwerp Games.
|Robben speaks out on injury fears|
|Fiorentina 0 AC Milan 0: Ilicic misses penalty on Montella´s return|
|Gisdol replaces Labbadia at Hamburg|
|Ibrahimovic threatened me over Pogba deal - Raiola|
|Balotelli could make Nice return against Krasnodar|
|Southampton deserved to win – Bilic|
|Podolski takes aim at Mourinho over Schweinsteiger treatment|
|Atletico midfielder Augusto suffers ACL injury|
|Sagna: More to Aguero than goals|
|Errors are urgent matter for Schalke - Weinzierl|
|Puel delighted with sublime Southampton second half|
|Simeone praises ´decisive´ Gameiro|
|Noble: West Ham can´t get any worse|
|Pjanic: I will play wherever Allegri needs me|
|West Ham 0 Southampton 3: Defensive woes pile pressure on Bilic|
|Kondogbia makes the same mistakes often – De Boer|
|Gray backed by Dyche after ban for abusive social media posts|
|Gabriel needs time to get used to Serie A - Ausilio|
|Atletico Madrid´s Gimenez and Augusto doubts for Bayern Munich clash|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Deportivo La Coruna 0: Griezmann downs 10-man Depor|
|Angry Spalletti slams Roma players´ attitude|
|Liverpool have unbelievable quality - Milner|
|Simeone´s son Giovanni scores first Serie A goal|
|Ivanovic: Chelsea let Conte down|
|Inter 1 Bologna 1: Battling Bologna end Inter streak|
|Guardiola: Top-four finish very tough for Man City|
|Rodgers expecting tough test against City and Aguero|
|Zamparini admits Balotelli interested Palermo|
|Former Swansea, Arsenal great Mel Charles dies|
|Asamoah, Rugani ruled out for up to seven weeks|
|Totti reaches 250 Serie A goals in Roma defeat|
|Alves makes LaLiga history as Valencia see off Leganes|
|Guardiola rues De Bruyne injury as Man City await scan|
|Las Palmas draw could prove costly, admits Morata|
|Gabriel explains choosing Inter over Juventus|
|Hamburg dismiss Labbadia|
|West Ham players expect Payet´s free-kick magic - Antonio|
|Man City must tell Guardiola to stop, says Toure´s agent|
|Hamsik thrilled to reach 100 Napoli goals|
|Zabaleta warns Man City over Celtic backlash|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls, Toronto into play-offs|
|´We were unlucky´ - Bale|
|Guardiola keen for Spurs test|
|Rodgers: I never fell out with Sterling|
|Wenger hails ´different´ Walcott|
|Mazzarri backs Deeney for England call-up|
|Mamelodi Sundowns and Zamalek reach CAF Champions League final|
|Benzema and Morata can play together - Zidane|
|Hummels plays down injury fears|
|Las Palmas 2 Real Madrid 2: Zidane´s men held again|
|Stones benefited from Moyes´ Everton exit, says Duffy|
|Allegri unconcerned by scrappy win|
|Montella demands Milan improvement|
|Ancelotti praises Thiago after Hamburg victory|
|Conte demands better attitude from Chelsea|
|Wenger hails stylish Arsenal display|
|Moreno the unlikely subject of Klopp´s praise|
|Walcott: We wanted it more than Chelsea|
|Phelan has ´no qualms´ over another handball red card|
|Arsenal 3 Chelsea 0: Sanchez, Walcott and Ozil pile on misery for Conte|
|That was how football should be - Klopp on Hull thrashing|
|Luis Enrique plans to keep Sergi Roberto on his toes|
|Karanka draws hope from Middlesbrough´s second half|
|Stoke is stitched into my body – Pulis|
|Palermo 0 Juventus 1: Own goal helps champions stay top|
|Hughes laments two ´stolen´ points|
|Wilshere can be a brilliant player for Bournemouth, says Howe|
|Defoe rues Sunderland collapse against Palace|
|Tottenham must be more clinical - Pochettino|
|Everton were second best, says Koeman|
|Benteke: I knew a chance was coming|
|Ranieri wants answers from Leicester players after Old Trafford thrashing|
|Board can call me if they want to talk - Guidolin|
|Sterling hails Guardiola´s impact|
|Sergi Roberto revelling in new role|
|Guardiola wants Aguero improvement despite scoring streak|
|Mourinho demands more from star man Pogba|
|Sporting Gijon 0 Barcelona 5: No Messi, no problem for ruthless champions|
|Stoke City 1 West Brom 1: Rondon snatches point as Pulis reaches 1000 games|
|Sunderland 2 Crystal Palace 3: Benteke´s late header stuns Black Cats|
|Swansea City 1 Manchester City 3: Aguero at the double for Guardiola´s perfect 10|
|Bournemouth 1 Everton 0: Stanislas wonder strike ends Koeman´s unbeaten start|
|Liverpool 5 Hull City 1: Coutinho stunner caps easy win|
|Middlesbrough 1 Tottenham 2: Son shines for Spurs|
|Hamburg 0 Bayern Munich 1: Late Kimmich goal maintains Bayern´s perfect start|
|Bayern facing defensive headache after Hummels limps off at Hamburg|
|Pogba and Mata delighted by United response|
|Vardy and Mahrez were rested for Porto, Ranieri admits|
|Mourinho completely trusts dropped Rooney|
|I beat Usain Bolt in a race - Bolasie|
|Juventus still Scudetto favourites - De Boer|
|Manchester United 4 Leicester City 1: Rooney watches on as Pogba inspires Red Devils demolition|
|Robben and Ribery are like Messi, claims Helmer|
|Pochettino hints at Vertonghen renewal|
|Robben´s style makes him an injury risk - Bayern fitness coach|
|Liverpool refuse to comment on Sakho´s social media outburst|
|Rooney dropped for Leicester City clash|
|Messi injury doesn´t matter to Barcelona - Abelardo|
|Thiago Silva worried by PSG form|
|Mourinho describes Wenger relationship as ´civilised´|
|Milito: Inter are no one-man team|
|Bilic delays naming daughter due to West Ham worries|
|Fernandinho hails ´intelligent´ De Bruyne|
|Matuidi: This season toughest for PSG|
|New York City 4 Chicago Fire 1: Villa nets twice in win|
|Pjaca not Morata - Allegri|
|Guardiola keen for Kolarov extension|
|England criticism changed Rooney - Mourinho|
|Gotze detractors don´t surprise Tuchel|
|Wenger laments missing out on Costa|
|Emery deflects blame from PSG players after Toulouse defeat|
|Guidolin: It´s not possible to beat Manchester City if you don´t play well|
|Mourinho prepared to bench Rooney|
|Fitness fears over Aubameyang with Real Madrid looming|