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Mexican soccer heroes clinch Olympic gold

August 11, 2012

Two goals from Oribe Peralata ensured Mexico claimed its first gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games with a 2-1 win over Brazil in the men’s soccer final on Saturday.

Guadalajara’s Minerva Glorieta was soon packed with over 3,000 fans singing, blowing horns and waving flags to celebrate Mexico’s first ever Olympic medal for soccer – arguably the country’s greatest ever triumph in the sport.

An underdog from the outset, Mexico had been expected to finish behind favorites Brazil, Spain, Uruguay and hosts Great Britain in the Olympic soccer. Even after defeating Japan in the semi-final, Mexico’s prospects of gold took a hit when injury ruled star player and top scorer Giovani Dos Santos out of the final.

Undeterred, Mexico hit the ground running. The 86,000 in attendance at London’s Wembley Stadium had barely taken their seats when Peralta caught the Brazil defense napping and fired low into the net, raising hopes of a historic victory after just 28 seconds.

If Mexico had needed a new hero in Giovani’s absence, then 28-year-old Peralta, who won the domestic Clausura 2012 title with Santos Laguna, would fit the bill nicely.

While Peralta shone, Brazil’s star players were underwhelming, with the exception of first-half substitute Givanildo Vieira de Souza – better known as “Hulk” due to his resemblance to the muscular superhero – who posed a constant threat to the Mexico backline.

But Mexico defended well throughout, with Jose de Jesus Corona particularly impressive in goal, and Brazil could not find an equalizer.

Mexico began to reassert its dominance in the second half, as Peralta had a second goal ruled out for offside half and Chivas de Guadalajara midfielder Marco Fabian hit the bar with an acrobatic over-head kick.

Minutes later, Peralta doubled Mexico’s lead. Unmarked by the woeful Brazil defense, the Torreon-born striker met Fabian’s free-kick with a powerful header, sparking wild celebrations across their homeland.

A last-minute consolation goal from Hulk ensured a nervy finale but Mexico persevered.

“Our objective was to win the gold medal and it’s a genuine reward for all the hard work that’s been put in over recent years,” Peralta said after the game.

The Olympic gold caps a spectacular 14 months for Mexican soccer, in which the national side has also won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the FIFA Under-17 World Cup and the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games.

“I can’t describe how I feel. We dreamed about this every night. It’s unbelievable,” said Jalisco native Fabian. “We did this for all of Mexico and I know that this is a day that we can all celebrate.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. jumpingpolarbear permalink
    August 11, 2012 22:02

    Big win for Mexico. And against huge favourites Brazil too :).

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