Mexico beats Brazil to win 1st Olympic soccer gold

Mexico is celebrating its first Olympic gold medal in men’s

soccer, and Brazil is wondering if it will ever be able to add the

title to its long list of triumphs.

Oribe Peralta scored only 29 seconds into the Olympic final at

Wembley Stadium and added another goal in the second half to help

Mexico upset Brazil 2-1 Saturday.

Peralta took advantage of a mistake by the Brazilian defense in

one of the game’s first plays and sent a low right-footed shot

inside the near post. It was fastest Olympic goal since FIFA began

keeping records of the competition in 1976.

The striker added the second with a firm header off 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 in front of 86,162 fans.

”Mexico will be celebrating on the streets,” coach Luis

Fernando Tena said. ”It is a great honor for a coach to see his

players singing the national anthem with gold medals around their

necks. It’s a very important moment for Mexican football. It’s a

great moment for us.”

Brazil was also trying to win its first Olympic gold, which is

the only significant trophy the five-time World Cup champions

haven’t won in soccer. The Brazilians established the London Games

as the team’s priority this year and arrived as the big favorite

after bringing most of its top players for the competition. Many

will also be on the team that will try to give Brazil the title at

the 2014 World Cup at home.

”We are all sad. We know it was probably our only chance to win

a gold medal,” said Neymar, touted as the future of Brazilian

soccer. ”Four years from now most of us likely won’t be here again

so this was our last Olympics. It was our last chance to win the


As Mexican players jumped up and down at midfield in

celebration, the Brazilians dropped to the ground in despair.

Neymar was one of them, sitting stoned-faced. Real Madrid left back

Marcelo dropped his head and cried as his teammates came to console


”Yet again we came close but didn’t quite get it,” Brazil

coach Mano Menezes said. ”Defeat is part of the maturing process.

This group will continue on this path and get ready for 2014.”

Peralta gave Mexico the early lead after Manchester United right

back Rafael tried to make a backward pass. Mexico midfielder Javier

Aquino intercepted the ball, sending it forward to Peralta just

outside the area. With no defenders near him, he calmly sent his

shot into the left corner.

FIFA said Peralta’s goal was the fastest since the 1976 Montreal

Olympics, when football’s governing body began keeping records of

the competition. The fastest goal in a senior competition was

scored by Turkey’s Hakan Sukur 11 seconds into a match at the 2002

World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

FIFA said the fastest goal in all competitions came from

Brazil’s Fabinho, who scored in nine seconds in the 2007 Under-17

World Cup in South Korea.

Peralta’s second goal came off a firm header from near the

penalty spot after a free kick cross by Marco Fabian.

”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,” Peralta said. ”I dreamed about this

moment. It is one of those things you don’t get to live every


The Mexicans also had a goal by Peralta disallowed for offside

in the 69th, and Fabian missed the open net with his header off a

corner in the 72nd.

Brazil appeared to be shaken by the early goal and struggled to

create scoring opportunities. Neymar started playing better in the

second half and helped Brazil push forward, but struggled to get

his efforts on target.

Hulk scored the team’s only goal with a low shot from inside the

area in the first minute of injury time.

Brazil knew that anything but the gold was going to be

considered a huge failure. The expectations back home were high and

the Olympics were seen as an important test because the majority of

the players in London will also likely be in the team trying to

lead Brazil to the 2014 World Cup title at home.

It was the team’s first Olympic final in men’s football since

the 1988 Seoul Games, when youngsters Romario and Bebeto ended with

the silver. Brazil also lost the final four years earlier at the

Los Angeles Games.

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