In Focus | Olympics London 2012

Mexico stun Brazil in football final

Brazilians’ long wait for football gold continues after Peralta’s double

  • By Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:40 August 11, 2012
  • Gulf News

Mexico's Marco Fabian, Diego Reyes and Giovani Dos Santos
  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • From left: Mexico's Marco Fabian, Diego Reyes and Giovani Dos Santos show their gold medals during the soccer medal award ceremony after defeating Brazil at Wembley Stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

London: Mexico shocked Brazil by beating the five-time world champions 2-1 in the final of the Olympic men’s football competition at Wembley Stadium on Saturday thanks to a double from Oribe Peralta.

He struck after just 28 seconds in what was the fastest Olympic goal since FIFA began keeping records of the competition 36 years ago. The Mexican striker sealed one of the all-time great Olympic upsets when he scored again late in the second half.

Hulk netted a consolation for the Brazilians in stoppage time, but Mexico, playing in their first Olympic final, deservedly prevailed as Brazil failed to seal their first football gold at the Games.

Both Mexico’s goals came as a result of woeful defencefrom Brazil, who were watched from the packed stands by the legendary Pele.

Peralta latched on to a misplaced backpass from Manchester United defender Rafael to stun Brazil inside the first minute.

Two minutes after the hour, Mexico could have doubled their advantage when Fabian Marco’s lob hit the bar.

But they were not to be denied, and Peralta added a killer second goal with 15 minutes remaining. When a free-kick was curled over from the right, Peralta was granted the freedom of the penalty area to power home a header that left Brazil exchanging angry recriminations.

Brazil pressed throughout the game and created a host of chances, but it was not to be their day.

After 20 minutes, Chelsea’s new signing Oscar collected the ball inside the Mexican box, but then shot straight into the waiting hands of Jose Corona in the Mexico goal.

The much-heralded striker Neymar then wasted three chances to level the score before half-time.

But the Mexican defence remained resilient and refused to buckle.

Brazil finally grabbed a consolation goal through Hulk as the game entered extra-time.

But it was a case of too little, too late, and Mexico went on to seal a deserved victory.

The Mexicans had proved their pedigree on the way to the final, too, scoring an incredible 15 goals, three in each of their five matches.

But they were without the services of their leading scorer, Tottenham Hotspur’s Giovani dos Santos, the only Mexican player who plays abroad.

They also had to contend with a crowd firmly behind Brazil, but that did not unsettle them.

Brazil had to settle for a third football silver medal after 1984 and 1988, added to the two bronze medals they claimed in 1996 and 2008.

Mexico’s previous best performance was fourth place, which they achieved when they hosted the Games in 1968.

Meanwhile on Friday, South Korea’s men beat fierce Asian rivals Japan 2-0 in the play-off for bronze to claim the country’s first ever Olympic football medal.

Japan were bidding to emulate the Japanese team of 1968, who won bronze at the Mexico Games, but despite enjoying more possession, the Asian champions were twice unpicked by their opponents’ clinical counter-attacks.

Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young and captain Koo Ja-Cheol scored either side of half-time, as the Taeguk Warriors claimed a measure of revenge for the senior side’s penalty shoot-out loss to Japan at last year’s Asian Cup.

With inputs from AFP

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