Mexico tops Japan to reach Olympic final

Mexico tops Japan to reach Olympic final

Olympic Soccer

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.


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