London: “Be wary of the Mexicans. We are coming,” warned Mexican coach Luis Fernando Tena after his team’s 2-1 win over the might of Brazil in the final of the Olympic football final here on Saturday.
“The under-17, the under-20 and now this team. All have been successful in their own right. We have been the getting the basics right and so all the big footballing nations better be careful of Mexico,” warned Tena at the post-match press conference.
“Very slowly, we are reinforcing our game internationally. We did a better selection of young players as we have a better pool of youngsters with whom we emphasize on basics. Our young players play much better and even if we were up against one of the best teams in the world we simply believed in what we could do,” the coach added.
A part of the re-building process of the team, Tena said, was to send out the young players to various corners of the earth so that they get as much exposure as possible in as little time as possible.
“Diego [Reyes] is the youngest member of the squad and has played in the under-15 and under-17 and at the moment he already has 90 international matches for Mexico,” he related.
Perhaps, one of the biggest benefits, the coach pointed was the presence of the three senior players within this junior squad.
“The seniors simply supported the juniors and they have shown the youngsters how to be mentally tough for these big occasions. Yes, this is a moment of great emotion for Mexico and if there is anyone who feels this is one of the biggest moments for Mexican football then that has to come from the people,” he observed.
“This is a very important moment for us. Our young players have developed and are looking forward to the future.”
“I don’t know if this was the best match of my career, but what I do know is that this is the most important, because I am here today with a gold medal,” said Oribe Peralta, Mexico’s hero on Saturday night.
“I dreamed about this moment. It is one of those things you don’t get to live every day.”
With a goal in 29 seconds, Mexico extended Brazil’s wait for a first Olympic football gold for at least another four years.
Peralta stunned the Brazilians by scoring as some fans were still making it to their seats. The heavily favoured South Americans never recovered, losing 2-1 after a late comeback attempt came up just short.
Peralta took advantage of a mistake by the Brazilian defence in the opening minute and slotted a low right-foot shot just inside the near post. It was the fastest Olympic goal since FIFA began keeping record of the competition in 1976. The striker added the second with a firm header from a free kick in the 75th.
Hulk scored for Brazil in injury time, but Oscar missed a header in the final seconds to waste the last chance for a comeback.