Posted on August 12, 2012
By Michael Lewis
LONDON — There are reasons why Mexico seemingly is winning just about every major international soccer tournament in sight.
Well, one is talent. The Mexicans have players — players who can make an impact.
Just take a look at what striker Oribe Peralta and goalkeeper Jose Corona accomplished in Saturday’s 2-1 gold-medal win over Brazil at Wembley Stadium. Peralta scored both goals and Corona backstopped the defense, which shut down the South Americans’ lethal attack.
The Mexicans were able to stun Brazil with its new mental strength. Instead of wilting about the Brazilians’ pressure, El Tri acquitted themselves quite well.
“Our youngsters look towards the future more optimistically,” coach Luis Fernado Tena said. “They have left behind the old complexes. They look towards the future like conquistadors.
“It’s a very important moment for Mexican football. It’s a great moment for us. Our youngsters have developed great mental strength and our football is improving considerably.”
Besides the Olympic gold medal, the Mexicans already had captured the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for the second time in a row, finished third in the U-20 World Cup, won the Pan-American Games crown and earned secured the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the second consecutive time.
These accomplishments certainly bode well for the future of Mexican soccer.
“We want the people in Mexico to believe in this young generation of players,” said Giovani dos Santos, the team’s best player, but who could not play due to a thigh injury. “Today we showed everyone that we are ready to win important competitions.”
This Mexican team is confident, not cocky, but confident.
“It’s true the world thinks of Brazil as a football superpower, but we knew we could beat them,” said defender Diego Reyes, the team’s youngest player at 19-years-old.
“We have a great team spirit and mentality. We are courageous and common effort allowed us to win. I think Mexico is being recognized more and more as a great football nation in the world.”
What made the gold-medal result even more impressive was that every player Tena used against Brazil performs in the Mexican League, as opposed many of the Brazilians, who play in Europe.
Peralta, who plays for Santos Laguna, which finished runner-up in the CONCACAF Champions League, double his production against Brazil, finishing the competition with four goals.
“I don’t know if this was the best match of my career, but what I do know is that this is the most important because I am here today with a gold medal,” he said.
“I dreamed about this moment. It is one of those things you don’t get to live every day.”
Defender Carlos Salcido was overcome by emotion.
“This is incredible,” he said. “It’s a very emotional moment that none of us will ever forget. I have already bitten the medal and I can tell you it’s real.”
On Wednesday, Tena said the Mexican Football Federation will pay homage to the Olympic champions at the Mexico-United States international friendly at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
“This is a great emotion for all our country,” he said. “Mexico will be celebrating on the streets, and also Mexicans living in the USA will be proud to be Mexicans.”
Photo: Oribe Peralta: “I dreamed about this moment. It is one of those things you don’t get to live every day.” Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: Mexico, North America, Olympic Qualifying
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, Carlos Salcido, CONCACAF Champions League, Diego Reyes, Giovani dos Santos, Luis Fernando Tena, Mexico Football Federation, Oribe Peralta, Santos Laguna, Wembley Stadium