London 2012: Early Preview of Brazil vs. Mexico Gold-Medal Final

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London 2012: Early Preview of Brazil vs. Mexico Gold-Medal Final
Stanley Chou/Getty Images

If you missed the semifinals, you missed some emphatic statements from our two finalists.

Both Brazil and Mexico overcame their Asian foes by more than one goal, putting their countries one step away from their first Olympic gold medal in football.

So what do we have to look forward to in this battle between the two best sides in Olympic football?

Here's a quick preview of the 2012 Olympic final.

 

When/Where

Saturday August 11, 10:00 am EDT, Wembley Stadium

 

Where to watch

NBC Sports Network

 

How they got here

After a dull 0-0 draw with South Korea in their opener, Mexico blasted through Group B with 2-0 and 1-0 victories over Gabon and Switzerland, respectively.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Mexicans had a fantastic start to their quarterfinal match, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over Senegal after a little more than an hour. However, the team seemed to let down thereafter, as the Africans came back to tie it at 2-2 and almost win it in regular time. Mexico dominated extra time, though, and took it 4-2.

In today's semifinal, Japan's early wonder-strike seemed to settle Mexico down, as they went on to dominate the last 70 minutes of the match and win 3-1.

For Brazil, it has been a dominant tournament in the goal-scoring department.

Brazil has scored three goals in each and every match, winning all of them.

In the group stage, the Brazilians jumped out to a 3-0 lead over Egypt in the first half before letting the Pharaohs back into the match and holding on for a 3-2 victory. Then, they came back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Belarus 3-1. Finally, they thumped New Zealand 3-0.

Against Honduras in the quarterfinals, Brazil twice came from a goal down to win 3-2. However, the fact that the Central Americans were down a man for about an hour makes the comeback quite a bit less impressive.

The same cannot be said for its semifinal, though, as Brazil dominated the score sheet against South Korea and won 3-0 behind a Leandro Damiao brace.

 

 

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Players to watch

For Mexico, it's Giovani dos Santos.

The Tottenham forward just continues to show that his club form does not translate to his international form, and vice versa.

His corner in the first half was picture perfect and completely turned the momentum of the match.

Gio's three goals thus far puts him near the top in the scoring department, a fact made all the more impressive considering that he started the tournament as a substitute and has played a full game just once.

Brazil's player to watch has to be Neymar.

The budding superstar's three goals thus far these Games pale in comparison to his play building up the other goals.

Today, he was the architect of all three goals, proving the most influential player on the pitch without putting the ball in the net.

 

Potentially Important Statistic

 

Stanley Chou/Getty Images

In the other Olympic tournaments with the same format as that of London since 1964, five teams have scored 15 or more goals before the final.

Brazil became the sixth with its most recent performance. So what does this mean for Brazil?

Surprisingly, the other five teams did not fare so well in the gold-medal match, with only two of them topping the podium (Argentina in 2004 and Hungary in 1964).

 

Underlying Storyline

Just how long can Mexico's most influential player, Giovani dos Santos, last in this final match?

It is no secret that Gio did not come into the tournament in the best of shape, as shown by Mexico's initial plan to use him off the bench.

In the quarterfinals, though, dos Santos played all 120 minutes, leading one to think he might be turning a corner.

 

However, versus Japan, Gio came off at halftime with the score 1-1. Mexico will certainly need more from their playmaker in order to compete with the formidable Brazilian attack.

 

Who will win on Saturday?

Submit Vote vote to see results

 

Prediction

Mexico's run in this tournament has been incredible. Their most recent victory, in which they put three goals past a Japan side that had yet to be beaten in the tournament, was impressive.

Further, El Tri's ability to come from behind against the Japanese showed the team's character, a trait that makes them all the more formidable.

However, it's hard to change my pick from the one I had at the beginning of the tournament: Brazil. The Brazilians have proved that they are one of the most impressive Olympic sides in history, especially in their goal-scoring prowess.

 

Both teams have shown slight vulnerability in the back, with Mexico's two goals conceded against Senegal and Brazil's two goals conceded against Honduras good examples.

This should be a fantastic match to watch.

Brazil 3-2 Mexico

 

 

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