Mexico tops Japan to reach Olympic final

Peralta (Reuters Pictures)

Continuing the country's recent trend of success on the youth international level, Mexico will play for Olympic gold.

Mexico battled back from an early deficit and got a goal and an assist from Oribe Peralta to post a 3-1 victory over Japan in their semifinal match at Wembley Stadium Tuesday, sealing a place in the Olympic final against either Brazil or South Korea.

Mexico fell behind on a 12th-minute strike by Yuki Otsu after an intricate passing sequence set up the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder at the edge of the area. Marco Fabian pulled Mexico level in the 31st minute, though, heading home a flicked-on header off a corner kick. It was the first goal Japan had allowed all tournament after four clean sheets against Spain, Morocco, Honduras and Egypt.

Peralta, the Santos Laguna teammate of U.S. striker Herculez Gomez, put Mexico ahead to stay in the 65th minute with an upper-90 blast from outside the box after pouncing on a turnover in Japan's end, and Javier Cortes capped the victory, dribbling through the right side of the area after a feed from Peralta and beating goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda from close range.

Japan could not match its female counterparts' feat of reaching the Olympic final, and instead will play for bronze against the Brazil-South Korea loser. For Mexico, which has succeeded despite having Javier Hernandez not made available for the tournament and Carlos Vela passing on the Olympic invite, playing for Olympic gold will be a first in the national team's history.


What did you think about Mexico's performance? Think El Tri will win the gold?

Share your thoughts below.

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70 Responses to Mexico tops Japan to reach Olympic final

  1. Greg says:

    A dark day for US Soccer we all knew was coming.

    Mexico has a golden generation, has to be taken seriously as a World Cup winning side come 2014. Could even be seeing the making of a prelude to a semi-final/final game in 2014 if Brazil advances past South Korea.

    It is time for the United States to grow up and not be content to just get out of group, or have a “spunky” performance. It is time to start showing progress. You can’t call the past 3 years as a team moving forward…

  2. Anti-Rafa says:

    Um, i think they need to just qualify for these touraments….

  3. Shane says:

    I disagree. Mexico being better will make the US better. Better competition will make the US a stronger team. Much of CONCACAF is improving and this is a good thing. Eventually we will get a full additional WC spot.

  4. Eurosnob says:

    Why is it a dark day for the US soccer? It sucks that our U23 team did not advance to the Olympics, but it’s not like we were humiliated by bad teams. Honduras had a great performance in the Olympics, beating Spain and taking Brazil to the wire despite playing one man down. Mexico is assured of having either gold or silver medal. Don’t forget that our U23 team beat this Mexican team, minus 3 over age players, very convincingly, when they played against each other. It’s too early to predict semifinalists for WC2014.

  5. Charles says:

    I couldn’t disagree more. Although it does stink that Mexico is sitting there in the finals.

    Mexico is a lock to make the final 16 of every World Cup. They were already pretty good, much better than many biased public opinion and FIFA rankings

    The US is getting there. If US were getting worse while Mexico better, than I would agree. Inspite of this Olympics, the soccer from the US is getting way better, way faster. Having good competition become great will only help that.

  6. kurgen99 says:

    I find it hard to be happy for them.

  7. cup half full says:

    Meh. Great day for Mexican soccer and great tournament for concacf teams. They are earning the region more and more respect. It’s always darkest before dawn. The US will he ready for 2014.

  8. Greg says:

    Agreed, but that starts with making clear plans going forward. U17, u20 World Cups will be critical evaluators of the “new look” organization Klinsmann has installed. We don’t need to win, but we need to show that this next generation of players can take us to the next level.

  9. Illmatic74 says:

    They are defintely superior to US but, I still don’t think they are a legitimate World Cup challenger. While our lack of skill and technique prevents us from being an elite team the adverse prevents Mexico. I still think they are a team that can be completely outwokred and outmuscled by top teams. Look at a player like Giovanni Dos Santos very skilful but, I think Redknapp never favoured him since he doesn’t put any work in defensively. Also when was the last time they had a great ball winning midfielder, box to box midfielder or a striker who relentessly presses?

    Also while Brazil will probably get gold and they are the home team I wouldn’t consider them a favorite in the next World Cup. They are over reliant on Neymar, their system is built on having a playmaker yet they really don’t have a great one(they have to hope Oscar or Ganso are elite by 2014) and the midfield is only ok.

  10. RLW2020 says:

    Vamos Mexico!!! i am a USNT fan till i die but i can’t not root for Mexico as my #2 team. maybe it cuz i grew up and live in a mexican area.. but i hope both sides win gold medals and world cup trophies in my lifetime.

  11. THomas says:

    It’s going to be a long 10+ years in Concacaf for the US. Good for Mexico though. You can still only put 11 guys out there for a senior game though, and the quality of those guys is what matters in the end. That said, having a stacked youth system increases the odds of turning those guys into senior team regulars.

    Overall, it’s nice to see a major tournament final, and semi-final for that matter, with no European teams.

  12. AmericanofMexicandecentlovesELtri says:

    USA fans should be more upset at the USMNT not making the Olympics. Instead, you hate on Mexico.

    Doesn’t matter to me do. Viva Mexico!

  13. Yo-Joe says:

    I’m with you in rooting for Mexico. They’re a primary rival when playing the US, but otherwise I like their team and style.

  14. Stephen says:

    Any true USMNT fan has every right to be upset and disapointed in our squad failing to qualify. But to think we are now spontaneously light-years behind Mexico is simply false in my book.

    Did anyone else watch this match? We didn’t creep out with a win, it was an absolute demolishing of their side and made the failure to qualify all that much worse.

    link to

    Bright days are ahead for both USA and Mexico.

  15. betamale says:

    I think what hurts so much for USMNT is that Mexico plays with the style that we want our team to play like, but simply can’t. It’s the way Mexican players view the plays developing in front of them. They are proactive while we are still reactive. They attack even when up, while we covet our precious one goals leads by bunkering and strand one useless forward to fend for himself against 4 defenders.

    I give credit to Mexico for playing the game the way we want to see it. Attacking, creative and with high energy.

  16. Dudeinho says:

    i think its funny that that everyone is making a big deal about a glorified u23 tourney that nobody outside the countries competing cares about.

    the russians beat the brazilians in 88 wheres their golden generation?

  17. Moe says:

    it was a friendly. what happened when the games actually mattered?

    U17, U20, U23 results from the last year show that not only is Mexico breaking away from the USA, but that the rest of Concacaf is making huge gains on the USA as well.

  18. Rabid RBNY says:

    A Dark day was when the US failed to qualify. But that has passed. It should be a point of pride that two other CONCACAF teams played well in these games. I thik it’s an illustration of how hard it is to compete at the International Level.

  19. Eurosnob says:

    Actually, the current Mexican team runs pretty hard and it is hard to outwork them. In the WC, they struggle when they run into teams that are technically superior as was the case with Argentina in the last WC. Plus, they lose cool when things do not go their way.

  20. RLW2020 says:

    +1 its jealously… i hope Mexico wins and the US never misses another Olympics.

  21. Brad2 says:

    Well we will see how the USMNT and El Tri compare on Aug 15th. A supposed “amistoso”…

  22. RLW2020 says:

    is Mexico going to just bring their Olympic team to the US-Mexico game next week? who are we going to bring?

  23. ET says:

    Youth results mean nothing, Germany knows that, they don’t focus on winning but dev. the player. This is what youth is for. So I don’t care about winning, I care about dev. players that can get the job done at the senior level.

  24. Illmatic74 says:

    Uruaguay sent Suarez and Cavani. Brazil sent Hulk, Marcelo and Thiago Silva, Spain sent Juan Mata, Javi Martinez and Jordi Alba. Plenty of countries took this seriously.

  25. ET says:

    No one takes this seriously, it’s a youth competition. This is what Jurgen was talking about, that american fans value winning to much. Do Germany care about youth competitions?no, because it’s about dev. that player.

  26. AJ says:

    IDK Greg, I think you have the wrong attitude here. Think about it, CONCACAF was no walk in the park for Mexico or Honduras. Who’s to say other CONCACAF teams wouldn’t have taken it to the other Olympic teams?

  27. KC says:

    Players don’t develop sitting a home watching international competitions on TV.

  28. MacComber says:

    As a US fan I’m rooting for Mexico. Unless they play South Korea. Something about that brazil team bugs the hell out of me.

  29. AJ says:

    I totally get that. I have a hard time being happy for the U.S. There was that one time though, when Dempsey scored against England in the last World Cup.

  30. Bobby Moore says:

    Greg, please tell me about the “new look” that JK has installed.
    The u20’s are definitely taking your advice. They have won 1 game in 3 foreign trips.
    Those “clear plans” could not ba a bigger fantasy.

  31. AJ says:

    Really? The Olympics mean nothing to you? Excuse me when I disagree with the notion that no one cares. The world is watching.

  32. M says:

    Neymer..dude is a punk through and through

  33. AJ says:

    As a fan of the Mexico team … I’ll take it. At least you’re not like those guys with unrelenting hate.

  34. M says:

    Look for Mexico to win Gold.. they are clearly focused and I think they beat Brazil in dominating fashion

  35. PD says:

    yep. there will be just no living with el tri fans after this. they are worse than English fans…

  36. annoyed gringo says:

    I can’t understand why, when this is an article/update about a result by Mexico, that 70 percent of the comments here are about a side that didn’t even play in the match. Can we please stop being so insular?

  37. Mike r says:

    OMG! Olympic history has no bearing and the U championships don’t either on winning a real Wc. Cameroon, Nigeria, Russia, and even the recent Arg wins did not lead to WC success.

    They have a golden generation for kiddy tournaments that’s it. Gio is the Adu of Mex.Gio is a star in the kiddy tournaments and a benchwarmer on a middle level premiership team so we have to keep it real.

    But the US does new to he better. 15 years of MLS and 2 years of jr MLS teams and we haven’t developed a star since Landon. Don’t say Dempsey cause thy are the same age. The athletes are here the technical ability and coaching isn’t.

  38. Mike r says:

    Yes look for then to win they haven’t played a real powerhouse yet.It’s just a glorified U 23 world cup that even FIFA doesn’t care about. the women have the best players in their sport playing period the men…not even close.

  39. Illmatic74 says:

    They are our biggest rival so offcourse we are going to talk about US. I think the Brazil thread won’t have much USA talk.

  40. Illmatic74 says:

    If no one takes it seriously how come the likes of Thiago Silva, Cavani, Mata, etc were risked here?

  41. Ben says:

    That’s why the U-23 slammed this same Mexican side before qualifying. Where do you guys come from.

  42. AJ says:

    Easy cowboy. I’m El Tri and don’t appreciate your comments. Stupidity exists on all sides.

  43. Todd Marsch says:

    I admit it does hurt as a US fan to see not only Mexico, but Japan and S. Korea do so well, while we didn’t even qualify. We like to think of ourselves in that group of up and coming teams like the three above, but results in really all competitions since 2010 indicate that the US is not improving as quickly as our “peers”.

    On the other hand, I do enjoy seeing countries from outside of the group of perennial powers challenging for titles.

  44. Frank says:

    It was a friendly that Tena was using to try out players. The US did outplay Mexico in that friendly but so did Japan in the friendly right before the olympics started. Mexico’s senior team just recently beat Brazil 2-0, does that make Mexico better than Brazil? Mexico is starting to separate itself from the rest of Concacaf again.

  45. M says:

    Qualifyed first in CONCACAF, won our group in the WC, we are making progress. Most importantly we are producing more and more players who are being sought after in Europe.

    We have juniors at Barcelona, Boca and Liverpool..5 years ago that would have been a pipe dream.

    I think being a country our size with players spread all over the world hinders us in Junior tournaments but will make our NT better

  46. pancholama says:

    Asi es.
    Si mon.
    Yes sir, yes indeed.

  47. Illmatic74 says:

    Jonathan Spector, Landon Donovan, Kenny Cooper, Frank Simek, Zak Whitbread all were on the youth teams of elite clubs. So us having juniors at big clubs wasn’t a pipe dream. Hopefully we starting having a few breakthrough.

  48. ET says:

    No but they do dev. by losing. They can learn from mistakes, by learning making them better players.

  49. fortunate only says:

    From the land where friendly results mean less than nothing.

    What do you think about the fact that the US Olympic team beat Mexico in a pre tournament warm up but couldn’t replicate that performance when it counted during the group stages of Olympic qualifying?

    What does it say about Mexico losing to the US Olympic squad in that friendly and then turning it on when it counts by winning the entire tournament in dominating fashion?

    You think the Japanese feel better about themselves after beating Mexico in Birmingham shortly before the start of the Olympic tournament only to lose to them when it mattered the most?

    This is the same myopic thinking that holds the US back. As much as people complain about the lack of technique in our players, it’s people easily dismissing failure and holding onto meaningless friendlies as some sort of safety blanket that will prevent us from moving forward.

    It really has little to do with Mexico’s success at all youth levels, it’s their change of mentality and ability to adapt to adverse circumstances that has them on the up.

    I mean, Mexico’s youth teams were as disorganized as the US youth set up (if not more given the fact that they have superior scouting and infrastructure) and it wasn’t until 2009 that they seriously became interested in developing their youth players. By the time their U17 or U20 teams reach the CONCACAF WC Qualifying stages, their players have over 100 international matches under the belt…..and that is with the national team, not even counting the preparation they undertake with their clubs.

  50. ET says:

    No one cares, your taking about nations who have ten Silva’s and Mata’s. Its an U-23 team, get over it.

  51. kg says:

    Herc Gomez, Danny Williams, Jermaine Jones, and Fabian Johnson did not come up through the us youth system. That’s over 1/3rd of our current starting line up. Some people are born in the US, spotted early by big clubs and develop accordingly. Others don’t and are late bloomers/country transfers. Happens everywhere. Just matters what happens when they reach the big time. Props to mexico though, hopefully CONCACAF gets that fourth WC spot soon.

  52. Dan says:

    Well they keep losing finals, so I guess they have not learned much.

  53. ET says:

    Idiot MLS just had academies the last two years. MLS struggle for a while before the Don came along. So it will take time. MLS will get better and better, but it will take time.

  54. NopalTech says:

    “Also when was the last time they had a great ball winning midfielder, box to box midfielder or a striker who relentessly presses?”

    Great Ball Winning Midfielder = Jorge Enriquez
    Great Box to Box Midfielder = Hector Herrera
    Relentless Striker = Chicharito

    Mexico currently has the three things it has lacked to be a World Cup contender since 1994:

    1) World Class Finisher (assuming Chico regains form)

    2) #10 That Can Dribble Through Traffic & Make Splitting Passes (Gio Dos Santos)

    3) Mental Fortitude (From U-17 to Senior NT in the last 2 years Mexico has proven to be every bit as mental strong as the great German, Italian & Uruguayan teams who made up talent shortages with unfazed self confidence)

  55. NopalTech says:

    “Gio is a star in the kiddy tournaments”

    Thank you for admitting that dismantling a Senior USMNT in the Gold Cup Final is basically starring against Kiddie opponents… we can definitely agree on that one. P.S. does Timmy still enjoy doing the worm dance?

  56. Lalas says:

    That was a friendly idiot.

  57. Mike says:

    Why do people think that this competition isn’t taken seriously lately? Looking back to 1988 for an example to make it seem that this competition isn’t relevant is using a false basis. Primarily because football has improved and changed drastically since the early to mid 90’s. Mexico’s youth system didn’t even really get going in earnest until the late 90’s, and most countries around the world didn’t even have leagues that were anywhere near being considered professional institutions. If you want to start comparing apples to apples, you need to look at the most recent examples of these competitions and the squad of the 2008 winning team should be enough. Does this not look like a team that takes this competition seriously:

    Oscar Ustari (22) (Getafe, Spain)
    Sergio Romero (21) (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands)

    Pablo Zabaleta (23) (Espanyol, Spain)
    Ezequiel Garay (21) (Real Madrid, Spain)
    Federico Fazio (21) (Sevilla, Spain)
    Nicolás Burdisso (24) (Internazionale, Italy)
    Luciano Monzón (21) (Boca Juniors)

    Fernando Gago (22) (Real Madrid)
    Ever Banega (20) (Valencia, Spain)
    Javier Mascherano (24) (Liverpool, England)
    Juan Román Riquelme (30) (Boca Juniors)
    Angel Di María (20) (Benfica, Portugal)
    José Sosa (23) (Bayern Munich, Germany)
    Diego Buonanotte (20) (River Plate)

    Lionel Messi (21) (Barcelona, Spain)
    Ezequiel Lavezzi (23) (Napoli, Italy)
    Sergio Agüero (20) (Atlético de Madrid, Spain)

  58. Ray says:

    Everybody on that team (expcet Giovani) is from their domestic league.

    There is very good footbal being played down south.

  59. THomas says:

    Uuuuuuuh…the federation of the two time defending European and defending world cup champion seemed to care. They fired their coach over the poor showing. A coach who previously won the u-21 euros. So if they care. Why shouldn’t we? Cause we’re not there? JK seemed to care too.

  60. THomas says:

    Agreed. As much as I hate them during qualifying and gold cup. When we’re not involved why not cheer on concacaf? Plus eff brazil.

  61. louis z says:

    unfortunately practice/freindly games only go so far to measure our progress,when the games count we need to come through, we didn’t. What troubles me is that our key young players are not doing well or not progressing enough… ADU, MIX, Morales, Shea, Agudelo etc, etc. Until our young ones get better or new players step up, we are falling behind our developement curb.

  62. louis z says:

    I could never root for Mexico, the way they have treat us in and outside the field made them my #1 soccer enemy. I’ll be rooting for Brazil, as I was rooting for Japan but “he who makes mistakes…loses!”

  63. louis z says:

    good point.

  64. HoBo says:

    Easy there yourself, calling someone a cowboy just proves ur own point of stupidity. Mirror time buddy!!

  65. Juan from L.A. says:

    Wow a lot of freaking idiots here who glorify a stupid ‘friendly’ and then diminish the importance of Olympic. Mexico is for reals right now and aside from Salcido, Gio and Corona the rest of this U-23 are not starters in the MNT. That’s the scary part and ohh the new generation U-17 is damn good and the U-20 is freaking scary (they were U-17 champs). Meanwhile we have Brek Shea and J. Agudelo to replace Donovan. We are in trouble.

  66. AJ says:

    Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with it but this is a pretty common expression where I’m from. So … no, i wasnt calling anyone a cowboy. Take it easy, “partner”. LOL

  67. hush says:

    I’m sorry, I’m Latin and love the USMNT whether it’s all good, or all crap. I’m from Chicago, so even if my rival teams do well, I CAN CARE LESS! I’m not going to cheer for them or give them a little props. I absolutely hate the Packers and Cardinals in general. Wisconsin & Missouri, Yuck. :) Nothing makes me happier than to see them suffer. Call me selfish or an ugly sore loser fan… But that’s the way I have always been and I’m fine with it.

    So I proudly say this to the Mexican national team… F&%%&%* and your steroid meat! … I actually feel good saying that.

    On another note. Mexico goes through these periods where their Futbol all of a sudden speeds up at a good level, then after a few years of good performances, they fall flat to the floor. It’s the Mexican national teams history. They have never been able to be steady historically. That is a fact! Anyone who has been brought up watching Mexican Futbol for most of their life’s know exactly what I am talking about. They are not consistent. In 5-10 Years they will sit flat on their faces for 10 or so years. It’s just the way it is.

  68. Matt says:


    CONCACAF grows even stronger with the performances of Mexico and Honduras.

    Great to see Santos Conca-Champ Peralta with the go-ahead goal. Hopefully a US team dethrones them in this year’s edition.

  69. joejoe says:

    Thanks for that ridiculous piece of nonsense history.

    Fact: Olympics 2012 Gold medal game (soccer), Mexico vs Brazil.

    Viva Mexico!

  70. fortunate only says:

    You are always here denigrating anything that isn’t US Soccer related so I’m glad to see you slither around in the mud trying to find a way to shoot the Mexicans down yet again while they just keep proving you, and plenty of others wrong.

    Not only is your assumption misguided and incorrect, it’s also myopic.

    Mexico has never taken youth development seriously, not even after the 2005 U17 WC triumph. It wasn’t until after the 2008 Olympic Qualifying fiasco and the 2009 U20 WC failure that they decided to change things up and look at them now.

    There is absolutely no question about the fact that they are improving rapidly at all levels. That should be cause for concern on our side.

    It’s time for us to pull our weight.