Mexico exceeded all expectations. Mexico beat all critics. Mexico, I am glad to say, is an Olympic gold medalist. It was very difficult game for the Tri who played in their half of the field for a good majority of the game. That tactical scheme however, lead to the best game this team has played under coach Luis Fernando Tena. I made a score prediction earlier this week that Brazil would come out victorious with a 3-2 victory, but I am glad to say that I was mistaken because Mexico beat my analysis.
What did Mexico do to win? It is not only that they played a wonderful defensive game, or that the midfield was superb at generating pressure at all parts of the field which prevented players like Neymar to play freely, and it was not only that Peralta played in top form and created extraordinary counter-attacks along Marco Fabian. This team won because they played like a ‘team’. While Brazil is a top-class team filled with world class players who get sold to Europe at ridiculous prices (Lucas Moura per say), this Mexican squad has played together for over a year. This is a team which only had Giovani Dos Santos playing in Europe, while the rest are regular starters in the Liga MX. Mexico won because of their fortitude as a team; these players were not individualistic, nor were they selfish.
A moment that saw the disunity in the Brazilian squad was by the end of the game when defender Juan wrongly got rid of the ball after being pressured by Fabian. After losing the ball, teammate Rafael, a big Manchester United prospect, started an ugly argument in the middle of the pitch with Juan. To me, that is representative of why Mexico won and Brazil lost. Brazil did not seem united as a ‘team’; they got to the final because of their overwhelming talent, but a true team like that, with so many all-stars, would have had no problem taking the gold.
Mexico has now won a handful of meaningful youth silverware since the 2005 U-17 World Cup victory in which Giovani Dos Santos led. Since, the tricolor obtained 2 Gold Cups, another U-17 World Cup, a third place in the U-20 World Cup, a gold in the 2011 Guadalajara Panamerican Games, the Pre-Olympic Tournament, Toulon Tournamet, and now, the 2012 London Olympics. What Mexico’s youth has achieved is no easy task, and no other nation has had as much success in youth levels in recent years. In other words, Mexico is a giant in the lower levels of world soccer. Now, this needs to translate into a senior level where the quarterfinals in the next 2014 Brazil World Cup would be a great achievement.
For now though, I am glad Peralta had the game of his career, I am convinced that the best ‘team’ won the gold, and I am excited of what can come in the future for Mexico. Brazil failed and will have to conform by being the new ‘Scratch du Plata’, and congratulations to a team and country which deserves this gold.