Peralta double takes Mexico to gold
LONDON (Reuters) - Mexico left Brazil's long-cherished Olympic dream in tatters again when they scored a stunning 2-1 upset win to clinch the men's soccer title for the first time at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Brazil, the hot favorites and desperate to win the only major soccer title to elude them, ended with the silver for the third time after two goals from Oribe Peralta - the first after 28 seconds - sent them crashing to defeat.
Their players, who won all five matches scoring 15 goals on their way to the final, looked utterly crestfallen on the victory podium as their 60-year search for the Olympic gold, which looked certain to end here, continues.
The result threatens the position of coach Mano Menezes, who is also the coach of the senior side and hopes to be in charge when Brazil host the World Cup in two years time.
Brazil's young side - the Olympics is essentially an Under-23 competition with three over age players allowed - were stunned by Peralta's first minute goal which came after a mix-up between Sandro and Rafael.
They never really got back into the match until after half-time when the likes of Olympic poster boy Neymar, Oscar and Leandro Damiao began to click.
That was largely because of the influence of Hulk, who replaced Alex Sandro after 32 minutes and Brazil were an improved side after the break.
But Mexico, who beat them in a friendly before the Olympics, were never ruffled.
Even without their injured playmaker Giovani Dos Santos, they kept their composure and doubled their lead when Peralta powered in their second with a 75th minute header from a free-kick only minutes after having a goal ruled out for offside.
They conceded late into added time when Hulk angled a shot home and survived a header from Oscar soon after when he should have equalised - but held on for Mexico's first gold of the London Games and their first major international soccer title.
Their previous best Olympic performance was a fourth place finish at the 1968 Mexico Games and their best World Cup performances came in the two World Cups they hosted in 1970 and 1986 when they reached the quarter-finals.
The attendance at Wembley of 86,162 was also the highest for any event in these Games and took the total attendance for the men's and women's tournaments to a staggering 2.18 million.
The only controversy of the afternoon went largely unnoticed by most of those here though.
Only 17 South Korean players were on the podium from their 18-man squad to collect their bronze medals after the IOC disqualified Park Jong-woo for displaying a political banner after they beat Japan 2-0 in the third-fourth playoff match at Cardiff on Friday.
(editing by Mark Meadows and Michael Holden)
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