Gold medal match preview: Brazil v Mexico
The gold medal in the men’s football at London 2012 will go to either Brazil or Mexico after the two sides successfully negotiated a route to the final - which will be played at Wembley on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Pre-tournament favourites Brazil have swept aside most opponents on their way to the gold medal match, overcoming South Korea via a convincing 3-0 score line in the semi-final in Manchester.
Mexico also struck three in their semi-final but had to come from behind against Japan to defeat the Samurai Blue 3-1 at Wembley.
Brazil will be favourites for the gold medal but Mexico have proved an able competitor at the games with the similar styles of both teams making for an intriguing final tussle.
Routes to the gold medal match
Brazil made it a clean sweep in the preliminary round, achieving nine points out of nine in Group C which also included Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand.
The Selecao’s biggest scare was in their London 2012 opener whereby they cruised into a three goal lead against Egypt only for the Pharaoh’s to peg them back to 3-2 with 14 minutes remaining. Fortunately for Mano Menezes side, they managed to hold on.
Brazil struck three more in their second game against Belarus with Neymar scoring his second goal of the games and Alexandre Pato and Chelsea new boy Oscar getting on the score sheet also. Belarus in fact took the lead in this game – an eighth minute opener from Brazilian born Renan Bardini Bressan ironically.
On match day three, Brazil reaffirmed their Group C supremacy via a comprehensive 3-0 victory against outsiders New Zealand.
In the quarter finals against Honduras, Brazil received yet another scare comparable to their opener against Egypt where they eventually prevailed 3-2 but the game wasn’t short of incident.
Honduras went into a 2-1 lead in Newcastle before a Neymar penalty gave the Selecao the impetus to snatch a victory in normal time with Leandro Damiao scoring the decisive winner against nine-man Honduras on 60 minutes.
The semi-final was a stroll with Brazil overcoming South Korea by 3-0. Leandro Damiao bagged a brace and took his London 2012 scoring tally to six goals and is well on his way to securing the golden boot.
Mexico achieved seven points in Group B finishing two points ahead of runners-up South Korea.
The two played out a dull goalless opener in Newcastle before the Mexicans grabbed their first victory – a 2-0 triumph over Gabon courtesy of a Giovani Dos Santos brace.
On match day three, Mexico eventually overcame a battling Switzerland 1-0 with Oribe Peralta’s goal on 69 minutes proving the vital strike.
Mexico had an enduring quarter final at Wembley against Senegal as the match went into extra-time following a 2-2 score line after 90 minutes.
The Tricolor didn’t feel any tiredness however as they took Senegal by surprise scoring twice in extra time through Giovani Dos Santos and Hector Herrera, eventually proving a bridge too far for the African side.
In the semi-final against Japan, Mexico were initially set back by a 12th minute Yuki Otsu strike but they did not panic, coming back to prevail by 3-1.
Brazil are favourites
In the pre-tournament friendly against Team GB, the world could see the threat Brazil posed heading into London 2012 with the majority of the squad set to be part of the World Cup 2014 squad also.
Neymar looks a future great and his sky-high reputation has ascended even further at London 2012 with his vast array of skills and trickery despite a rudimentary low pain threshold.
Mano Menezes side will be favourites for victory and have struck three goals a time on a number of occasions at the Olympics with Neymar, Leandro Damiao, Lucas Moura and Oscar, a formidable-looking attacking threat.
Mexico have done well themselves however and Tottenham misfit Giovani Dos Santos has again managed to save his best exploits for the national team.
The least the Central Americans will go home with is a silver medal and this will be deemed a respectable achievement for the side.
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