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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

BrazilFinal (Reuters)

Neither Brazil or Mexico have ever won the Men's Soccer Olympic gold medal before, but one of them will add that prestigious title to their trophy case when they square off in the Olympic Final today.

Brazil reached the semis on the strength of a win over South Korea, while the Mexicans pounced on defensive errors by Japan to book their place in the gold medal match.

In Mexico, Jose Torres leads Pachuca against Edgar Castillo and Club Tijuana in a match that U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann will likely have an eye on.

If you're craving some Serie A action, look no further than the Italian Super Cup, between reigning champion Juventus and Coppa Italia winners Napoli.

If you will be watching today's action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

MexicoOly (Getty)


8 a.m. - beINSport free web stream - Juventus vs. Napoli

10 a.m. - NBC Sports Network/MSNBC/Telemundo - Brazil vs. Mexico

1:15 p.m. - - Dinamo Bucarest vs. Barcelona

2 p.m. - ESPN2/ - Real Madrid vs. Celtic

3 p.m. - Univision Deportes, beINSport free web stream - Paris St-Germain vs. Lorient

5:30 p.m. - Univision - America vs. Atlas

5:30 p.m. - GOLTV - Bahia vs. Cruzeiro

7 p.m. - MLS Live/Direct Kick - Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake

8 p.m. - Telefutura - Pachuca vs. Tijuana

8 p.m. - Univision Deportes - Tigres vs. Queretaro

8:30 p.m. - MLS Live/Direct Kick - Sporting Kansas City vs. D.C. United

9 p.m. - MLS Live/Direct Kick - FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids

10 p.m. - Univision Deportes - Monterrey vs. San Luis

10:30 p.m. - MLS Live/Direct Kick - San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders


  1. You are getting a little over the top here.

    This was the Olympics not the World Cup.

    The Brazilian Olympic team is their third or fourth string. By the time the World Cup rolls around this entire squad, with a couple of exceptions, could be replaced by better players. In fact they could probably do that tomorrow.

    Mexico did a great job and deserved their win but they played about as well as they possibly could while Brazil came to this tournament way overconfident and that did not sink in until the end of this game.

    In other words Brazil is capable of playing a great deal better than this and right away while this is best you will see from this particular Mexican squad.

    What is interesting is how this Mexico will look integrated with their senior players. Success does not always survive the transition.

  2. It is fairly simple.

    Mexico has a thriving professional league, whose top teams spend a lot more money on their players than MLS does. And these teams have a better system of developing young players.

    If you are a Mexican kid and dream of being a pro there is a very clear career path for you to follow.

    while there is plenty of interest in American sports Mexican kids have only baseball as serious competition. And if you follow the history of El Tri recently, they have gotten a lot more serious about taking advantage of these built in advantages.

    Their national teams seem to play together more than ours does and since almost all of their players play in Mexico they have a great familarity with one another and how they play.

    If MLS teams were serious about developing local talent and keeping Americans from going abroad to play, that would increase the numbers of US players available to the talent pool. However, that might take a little time and USMNT fans can barely remember past the last game so don’t hold your breathe.

    The USMNT is a very together squad but they are not as cohesive as the Mexican squad seems to be.

  3. I don’t think that winning the world cup is the only measure for success. Of course every team wants to win the WC, but just because a team doesn’t win it should not translate to their football standing, players or skills being subpar. Only one team out of 32 contenders wins it. There have been many amazing teams who didn’t win that tournament. I would be happy with Mexico being considered a firm contender and having deep runs into future tournaments. Would it be great if they won it? Sure. But right now I am happy with them being respected, producing quality talent, have players in the best teams in the world and for other teams dreading facing them in a tournament. Argentina may not have won the WC since ’86 and the Netherlands may never have won it, but they produce some of the greatest players out there and are always favorites . Sooner or later, like with Spain, they may win it again. But if I were Argentine, I wouldn’t be too sad to know that my team was made up of Messi, Higuain, etc. The football world is only going to get more and more competitive and the field is leveling out; for Mexico to be considered one of the top teams is an accomplishment in itself.
    And for the Gold Cup, the fact that a team has to make two substitutions early in the first half will always have a big effect on the tactical options that a team has as the game progresses. When Torres Nilo and Reynoso came on, most Mexicans were dubious. Reynoso may have good positioning, but he is slow as hell. And Torres Nilo was green at that stage. So it was a gamble. But it paid off, because Mexico has developed depth. And that is my point. Mexico has worked on having talented youth to replace the old guard made up of prima donas who didn’t have the character to work as a real team and turn over the difficult scoreline that this new team faced in that Gold Cup. Its not a deficiency of the US squad as much as it is a strength of the Mexican squad to do what it did.
    And come on, a penalty is a crap shoot. If you are condoning cheating as a reasonable tactic for poor teams to come up above skillful teams, then that says as much about your perspective of football and sports to make it clear that you don’t value true player development and are only looking for cheap one off wins. That doesn’t make for a lasting football program.

  4. I think you misunderstand me, Jeff. What I’m saying is that, as you said, we can’t conjecture, by which I mean that we can’t take an Olympic win and assume that it will translate into World Cup success in two years. As you point out, Argentina won the last two golds – look how they fared at the following WCs. Two quarterfinals, two losses to Germany. As Americans we would be happy if our team did that, but it really isn’t terribly impressive, especially for sides that have real aspirations of winning it. And I have to disagree with you about the Gold Cup. I don’t remember who replaced Salcido (who I rate) and Marquez (who I really don’t), but I doubt that the drop in quality was as severe as it was going from Cherundolo to Bornstein. (And I’m no Bornstein hater, but Mexico ate him for lunch when he came on.)

    As for the Uruguay-Ghana thing, he cheated and he received the appropriate punishment. That loss is squarely on Ghana. They couldn’t convert the penalty, and then they couldn’t get it done when the game went to penalties. Suarez is a punk, but that loss is on Ghana’s shoulders.

  5. But nobody else pays (rewards) players for their dedication and development in basketball the way the NBA does. If Americans had a reasonable chance of say $3k-$150k a week like in many smaller nations (or here in other sports) than we might make the chosen path of children and young adults more soccer-friendly.

  6. Please explain to me what you and the experts mean when they say we need to focus on development not results. That’s simply a cop out. What they should say is we were beaten and so I’ll make up an excuse.

  7. Mexico win by playing steady defense, but their talent is far inferior to Brazil. Brazil will never win a major tournament outside their region if they continue to use two defensive mids (same applies to US), a matter made worse with three our attackers. They will always have one crap game out of four playing that way, and leave limitless room for the kind of errors made today. Nano is repeating Dunga’s mistake. For US fans, note that if Mexico can beat a Brazil playing defensive mods, how will the US do employing the same strategy with far less talent than Brazil, much less Mexico


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