Mexico upsets Brazil for men's soccer gold
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LONDON -- Mexico's stunning 2-1 triumph over Brazil to earn the Olympic men's soccer gold medal Saturday may be considered by some as an upset, but the result could signal the birth of a world power.
Striker Oribe Peralta supplied the offensive might with two goals -- including a strike only 29 seconds into the encounter -- and goalkeeper Jose Corona and a well-disciplined back four provided the defense before 86,162 spectators at Wembley Stadium.
Already a CONCACAF power, the Mexicans' first soccer medal of any kind punctuated an amazing 14-month period in which they have won or placed highly in many international competitions. That includes the Under-17 World Cup, which it has won twice in a row, a third-place finish in the U-20 world championship and the two last CONCACAF Gold Cup titles, the last of which was a 4-2 triumph over the United States on American soil.
Coach Luis Fernando Tena attributed Mexico's success to a new mentality. In the past, Mexican players wilted under pressure. Against Brazil, they thrived on it.
"Our young players left behind the old complexes," he said. "They look forward to the future like conquistadors."
"We knew how to weather the storm," midfielder Jorge Enriquez said.
In what is expected to be an emotionally charged atmosphere, Tena said that the Mexican Football Federation will pay homage to the team at the international friendly against the United States at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City Wednesday.
The Mexicans were charged up enough after they survived a late Brazil comeback attempt and a goal by Hulk a minute into stoppage time.
"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 day."