Brazil vs. Mexico Olympic Gold-Medal Match: Grades, Reaction and Analysis
The world is in shock.
But it shouldn’t be.
Was Brazil overrated?
Brazil lost 2-1 to Mexico in the London 2012 Summer Olympics gold-medal match on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilians were consensus favorites going into the Games. On paper it looked as though they had the potential to be one of the greatest Olympic football clubs ever, if not the greatest. Through five contests, it looked as though Brazil would go down in history as exactly that, as it had scored three goals in each one of its matches.
Mexico wouldn’t hear of it, though. It rode an early lead to the finish line to claim the Olympic crown.
While this is an upset, remember, Mexico defeated the Brazilians, 2-0, in an international friendly back on June 3rd.
Here’s a recap of the Mexicans’ silencing of Brazil, again.
Tweets of the Day
Keir Radnedge of Goal.com raved about the environment at Wembley Stadium before the match began:
Brilliant atmosphere outside Wembley for Brazil v Mexico football final. All green and gold. Looks like a Man Utd anti-Glazer protest!— Keir Radnedge (@KeirRadnedge) August 11, 2012
Eric Wynalda of FOX Sports found himself distracted from the green and gold because of a lack of red, white and blue:
I am currently watching Brazil vs Mexico trying to explain to a 3 year old why the USA isn't playing - his answer was "seriously?".— Eric Wynalda (@Wynalda11) August 11, 2012
Mexico took a 1-0 lead against Brazil just 29 seconds in to the match. Supersport.com confirmed that it was indeed in record speed:
Mexico's Oribe Peralta's strike against Brazil is the fastest goal in a final in the Olympic men's football. #SSOlympics— SuperSport Blitz (@SuperSportBlitz) August 11, 2012
While the Brazilians hadn’t failed to entertain in any of their previous Olympic matches, Mexico’s safe play after its don’t-blink opening goal prevented Brazil from doing so. Kieran Hot FM complained:
Wat a boring game laaa...So now wat??Mexico gonna try to hang on to that early gol till the very last minute???#kakibola— Mas Kieran (@KieranHotfm) August 11, 2012
Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated compared dollars and cents to put Mexico’s upset in to perspective:
The transfer-market value of this Brazilian team is at least $300 million, probably 10x the Mexican team. 65' Mexico 1, Brazil 0. #SIeod— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 11, 2012
Grades for Key Brazilian Players
Neymar showed flashes of brilliance during the match, putting his dazzling dribbling on display.
His performance featured more style than substance, though. He attempted a team-high five shots and drew four fouls, but in the end, he failed to put a dent in the scoreboard.
Brazil’s goalkeeper didn’t get much assistance from Rafael stopping Mexico’s first goal. Still, he recorded just one save and surrendered two goals.
Gabriel was never the Brazilians’ strength—scoring was—and while he didn’t get much help on that end either, his performance was still one to forget.
Grades for Key Mexican Players
Oribe Peralta: A+
It’s safe to say that Peralta is the most beloved man in Mexico right now.
He put the underdog club on his back to defeat a heavily hyped Brazilian team, outshining the likes of Neymar and Hulk. He scored both of Mexico’s goals—one to set the tone of the match and a second to clinch the win.
Jose Corona: A
Corona and the Mexican defense did a phenomenal job of frustrating Brazil’s usually explosive offensive attack. He recorded three saves in total on the match.
Corona nearly got the shutout, but thanks to Peralta, he didn’t need it, anyway.
Deciding Factor: Stifling Defense
Brazil controlled the football for 61 percent of the match. They also got off more shots attempts than Mexico—19 to 14.
Despite those numbers, the Mexicans’ physical play extinguished a once seemingly unstoppable handful of goal scorers.
Man of the Match: Oribe Peralta
Peralta’s first goal allowed Mexico to play smart football the remainder of the match. His second-half dagger decreased Brazil’s odds of a comeback from slim to none.
And if weren’t for an offsides penalty, he would’ve even scored another goal.
Mexico’s celebration will take a quick commercial break on August 15th, when the Mexicans face off against the United States in an international friendly.
Brazil will look to numb the pain of its loss on the same day, against Sweden.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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