(WFI) Mexico won their first ever Olympic football medal as they stunned Brazil 2-1 in the men’s final to claimgold at Wembley Stadium.
IOC president Jacques Rogge was among a crowd of 86,162 as Mexico took the lead after just 28 seconds. A careless defensive error from Rafael let Oribge Peralta run through and drill the ball past a helpless Gabriel.
Mexico always looked the more likely team to score as their hard work restricted the movement of Brazil’s star players Neymar and Hulk.
Peralta added his and Mexico’s second in the 76th minute, heading the ball in from a free-kick needlessly given by Marcelo. Peralta was unmarked as Brazil once again paid the price for sloppy defending.
There was a brief glimmer of hope for the Brazilians when Hulk scored in the first of three minutes of stoppage time. But it was too little too late as Mexico finished as Olympic champions – arguably their finest triumph at international level.
Following the match a jubilant Mexico coach Tena said he was extremely proud of his country’s historic achievement. They had never gone better than fourth in any previous Olympic tournament.
“This is a great moment for all of us not only because our young players have developed a great mental strength but because they showed that our football can improve further” he said.
“Mexicans will be partying and celebrating this victory and it’s also great for all Mexicans in the United States to be Mexicans today.”
Mexican centre-back Diego Reyes was key in stifling the threat of Neymar and he said “The world thinks of Brazil as a world football super power with wonderful players but we knew we could
beat them and become Olympic champions.”
“We have a great team with great team spirit and unity. Mexico is being recognized more and more, at last, as a great football nation.”
Brazil will be hoping to go one better at home in the next Olympics, home turf at Rio 2016.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter was also in the stadium but unlike at the women’s final he did not present the medals.
On Thursday evening Blatter was booed by large parts of the crowd and did not present the medals.
Blatter Praise for Olympic Tournaments
Blatter says the quality of the women’s football competition at London 2012 has been “very high” as he lauded the success of two competitions. Both have seen record breaking attendances in London.
In an interview with FIFA.com, Blatter – who did no press conferences during the Olympics – said: “We have witnessed some incredible talent and many of the stars of the men’s tournament will have a major impact when the World Cup arrives in Brazil in 2014.
“The quality of the football in both the men’s and women’s tournaments has been very high. Technically the women’s game has advanced so much and that is a tribute to the passion and ability of the coaching and development of the game worldwide.”
Firstly, the attendance record was broken when Team GB’s women played Brazil at Wembley – over 71,000 spectators turned out to see GB win 1-0. But that record was broken just days later in the USA v Japan final with 80,000 spectators attending. The FIFA president described it as “fantastic”.
“That doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because supporters know they are going to see a quality game of football, played with enthusiasm and skill,” he added.
By INSIDER’s Christian Radnedge
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