Mexico stunned Brazil to win their first gold in the Olympic
men's football tournament as Oribe Peralta's double clinched a
shock 2-1 victory over the five-time world champions here
Peralta struck after just 30 seconds and the Mexican striker
sealed one of the all-time great Olympic upsets when he scored
again late in the second half.
Hulk got one back in stoppage-time but Mexico, playing in their
first Olympic final, were deserved winners as Brazil once again
failed to end their long wait for a first football gold.
While Brazil have graced the World Cup with some of the best
players and most dazzling performances ever seen on football's
grandest stage, the Selecao have never managed to replicate those
golden moments at the Games and this was another miserable
chapter in their Olympic history.
Brazil, bronze medallists in Beijing in 2008, lost in the Olympic
final in 1984 and 1988 and their failure to win gold has rankled
with such a proud football nation for decades.
Mano Menezes's team are unlikely to get a sympathetic reception
on their return home after such a lacklustre display riddled with
nerves and defensive blunders.
From Rio to Sao Paulo those unconvinced by Menezes had already
begun to whisper that former Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari
should be installed in time to lead the nation's bid to win the
World Cup on home soil in 2014 and those calls will get even
louder after Mexico's giant-killing act.
After sweeping to the final with five successive wins, Brazil
were heavy favourites and Mexico's chances looked even slimmer
when Tottenham striker Giovani dos Santos was ruled out with a
hamstring injury suffered during the semi-final win over Japan.
But the Mexicans had won three of their past five matches against
Brazil, including a 2-0 friendly victory in June, and there was
no sign of an inferiority complex as Luis Fernando Tena's side
made an astonishing start.
Just 30 seconds had been played when Manchester United right-back
Rafael da Silva dwelt on the ball and then poked a hesitant pass
towards Sandro, who was caught flat-footed as Javier Aquino stole
Peralta latched onto Aquino's pass and the Santos Laguna striker
advanced unchecked before slipping a clever low shot past Brazil
goalkeeper Gabriel from just outside the penalty area.
Brazil seemed shell-shocked by such a disastrous opening. It took
21 minutes for Brazil's first shot on target and Menezes was
growing increasingly frustrated on the touchline.
By the 32nd minute he had seen enough and hauled off Alex Sandro,
with Porto striker Hulk sent on.
That at least gave Brazil a brief spark and defender Marcelo
slashed wide after Oscar's flick gave him a sight of goal, then
Hulk surged forward and forced Jose Corona to parry his
Leandro Damiao was quickly onto the rebound, but Corona recovered
his footing to block the striker's follow-up.
Brazil needed more from Neymar in the second half but the Santos
striker's composure deserted him when he lashed a good chance
high over the bar.
Marco Fabian should have made Neymar pay for that miss when the
Mexico midfielder harried Juan Jesus out of possession. But
Gabriel blocked Fabian's first shot and from the rebound the
Mexican's overhead kick looped onto the crossbar.
Moments later Peralta saw his shot ruled out for offside, but
Brazil's defensive frailties were exposed again in the 75th
When a free-kick was curled over from the right, Peralta was
granted the freedom of the penalty area to power home a header
that left Brazil exchanging angry recriminations.
Hulk gave them hope of a dramatic late fight-back when he burst
through to drive a low shot under Corona in the first minute of
And incredibly Oscar should have forced extra-time, but the
Chelsea midfielder headed over with the goal at his mercy as
Mexico held on.