|Mexico held off a late push by Brazil Saturday. Both teams were playing for their first gold in men's soccer. (US Presswire)|
Two countries who'd long yearned for their first gold medal in the sport met in the men's soccer final at Wembley Stadium Saturday.
It was the favorite, the world powerhouse, one of the best soccer countries in the world ... who lost. Again.
Mexico defeated Brazil 2-1 on the foot of two goals from Oribe Peralta, giving his country its first gold medal and extending the pain for the Brazilians, who will have to wait until they host the Games on their own soil, four years from now in Rio de Janeiro, for another chance at the gold.
Peralta got the gold medal game off to a frenzied start when he scored just 29 seconds into the match. It was the quickest goal in men's Olympic soccer play in nearly 40 years. He connected again in the second half, the 75th minute, to provide the cushion Mexico would ultimately lead.
Because while the Mexicans were in control for most of the match, Givanildo Vieira De Sousa -- the "Hulk" -- managed to pop a shot past Mexico goalie Jose Corona in extra time, the 90th minute. Brazil came so, so close to tying the game when Hulk set up a header opportunity for Oscar Dos Santos Emboaba, Jr., that was popped high of the goal in the third and final minute of extra time.
After that, a goalie free kick was sent out, the whistle sounded, and Mexico's celebration began. It was indisputably an offensive letdown for Brazil, which scored three games in the previous five Olympic match.
Mexico spent nearly 10 minutes celebrating on the pitch before the medal ceremony began. With such a young team, clearly loaded with talent, this was a huge moment for the country but also the world. The Mexicans sent a signal out to the rest of the globe: We are here, we are good, and we won't be going anywhere for a long time.
For Brazil, a world power on the pitch and country with five World Cup titles, it's the third silver in Olympic history. In total, the country has five medals. But this was the first Olympic final for the Brazilians since the '88 Games in Seoul, so the build-up and the pressure surrounding the game was immense for the coaches and players. For as good as this was for Mexico, the defeat has to be an even more powerful feeling for Brazil, which finds little consolation in silver.