The Mexico vs Japan semifinal match was a test of wills and determination, and Mexico passed the challenge with a final score of 3-1. The crowd at Wembley Stadium ended up celebrating a Mexican victory, the first time ever that Mexico will be guaranteed an Olympic soccer medal.
The first thirty minutes of the match showed why Japan reached the semifinal stage; Japan played an effective passing game, maintaining possession and forcing Mexico to play long balls. Japan capped off this dominating period by scoring a fantastic goal with a long-range shot from Otsu. However, the 12th minute goal did not discourage the Mexican squad, they maintained their game and would come back to tie (and win).
Marco Fabian scored a goal in the 31st minute off a corner kick. This goal effectively changed the flow of the match. From here on, Mexico maintained possession throughout most of the game, and effectively nullified the Japanese offense.
Similar to the match against Senegal, Mexico took advantage of their opponent’s defensive mistakes to score a goal. Oribe Peralta stole the ball in the 65th minute, after a bad pass in the Japanese defensive area, and scored a fantastic long-range goal. For the last 25 minutes of the match, Mexico pulled back (maybe a little too much) and virtually denied all Japanese attacks. The match was capped off by a Mexican counterattack in the 93rd minute that led to a goal from Cortes, effectively sealing the match in favor of Mexico.
Mexico will now get to play the Olympic Soccer tournament’s Gold medal match against the winner of Brazil vs South Korea. It is of note that this will be Mexico’s first appearance in a gold medal soccer match. Also, Tena has done a great job coaching this U-23 team, leading them to winning the Pan-american Games of 2012, the CONCACAF Pre-Olympic Tournament, and the Toulon Tournament. Can Tena lead this team to a fourth straight tournament conquest and the coveted Gold medal?
Enjoy the Mexico vs Japan goals and highlights: