Mexico's football just keeps getting better and better. The Tricolores started off strong in front of a packed Wembley Stadium, scoring the second-fastest goal in Olympic history after 29 seconds from the start. Santos Laguna forward Oribe Peralta netted the ball in to the near post from a right-footed shot outside the box. A defensive mishap involving both Brazil's players and keeper cost the 5-time World Cup champions an easy ball. Brazil put on the pressure, but Mexico was just as motivated and was able to better hold on to the ball. Brazil's first real attempt came after 20 minutes of play when Marcelo ran up the left flank and passed to Damiao , whose shot was saved by Corona. Manager Menezes took a risk in making an early substitution, having Hulk come on for Alex Sandro on the 32nd minute. Mexico kept up the attack. Marco Fabian's far shot went a bit wide of the lower right corner. Jose Corona saved the ball from Brazil's second attempt - a long ball that ricocheted off the ground and was headed for the near post. Marcelo had a go at storming Mexico's net, but his shot went wide. The Madrid star soon got booked for a tackle from behind. Right before halftime, Hulk passed to Neymar from the left side, but the resulting shot was taken by Corona. Brazil held the initiative for about 15 minutes, but Neymar's sloppy shots all went off-target, and the team trailed behind 1-0.
Neymar started off the second half for Brazil playing just as badly as he did the first, ultimately losing the ball in the box. Mexico's chance to double the score in the second half arrived on the 64th minute when Fabian's half-bicycle attempt hit the crossbar. Leandro Damiao countered for Brazil, but Mier cleared the ball before the Brazilian could pass to Neymar. Mexico's goal on the 69th minute was disallowed for having been offside. Alexandre Pato came on for Sandro, but did little to make a significant impact for his team. Peralta got his double on the 75th minute. A nicely-delivered free kick gave the Santos Laguna forward the header to put Mexico forward once again, angering Brazilian manager Menezes, who looked like he wanted to take care of business. Both teams saw back-to-back counters. Peralta missed his hat-trick opportunity, earning a corner instead. Corona came off the line to apprehend Neymar's run and clear the ball away. Peralta was subbed off on the 86th minute and left to a whistling standing ovation. It may not have been a good move for Mexico, as they gave away a bunch of opportunities when there was still time left to significantly alter the score. Fabian kept up the attack for Mexico. His best attempt came at the start of added time when he went one-on-one, resulting in a wide shot. Mexico gave away the last ten minutes, plus added time, to the weaker Brazilian team, which eventually scored its only goal of the match. Hulk's individual skills came into play and he shot the ball into the far post on his second touch. But one goal wasn't enough for the Brazilian side to take the gold.
Though the teams were about equal in moments that the individual players created, Mexico played a much more creative, more productive game. El Tri dominated the entire game, with the exception of the last parts of the first and second halves. Mexico's defending in the box was superb; they almost never let Brazil have a shot at scoring. British ref Mark Clattenburg was pretty solid in his decisions. Ultimately, El Tri's pre-Olympic friendly practice against English, Russian, and German teams allowed them to play against different styles, perfecting their already-growing technical prowess. You really can't compare Oribe Peralta's incredible game with Neymar's resultless, sloppy attacks. Today's game shows more than ever that the Brazilian striker is simply overrated and does not live up to his celebrity status on the pitch. Mexico walk away with a well-deserved gold. The Olympic team's victory isn't the only recent accomplishment for Mexico. Their U-20 team won the VTB Lev Yashin Cup against Dynamo Moscow in a 2-1 win in July. The team defeated the Turkish National Team 7-0 before reaching the final. A year ago, Mexico's U-17 defeated Uruguay to claim the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
London 2012 Olympics – Men's Football Final
Mexico U-23 vs. Brazil U-23 – 2:1 (1:0)
Arena: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (GBR)
1:0 Oribe Peralta ('1)
2:0 Oribe Peralta ('75)
2:1 Hulk ('90+)