Before the start of the men's soccer gold medal match at the London Olympics, conversation tended toward two topics. The first was the shocking truth that Brazil had never won a gold medal in its signature sport. The second was the absence through injury of Mexico's Giovani dos Santos. Logic seemed to dicate that the latter fact would take care of the former reality.

It didn't take long for Mexico to turn that line of thinking upside down en route to a 2-1 win, clinching the first gold medal in soccer in its own history. In the 29th second of the game, Mexico striker Oribe Peralta capitalized on a Brazilian turnover to open the scoring with a clinical near-post strike. With the early introduction of Hulk from the substitutes bench, Brazil would press for a goal for the remainder of the first half but Mexico held its nerve and its lead into the intermission.

Brazil's 20-year-old Neymar looked at turns -- and pirouettes -- the most elusive, dangerous player on the field but it was Peralta who would net the second score of the game. The 28-year-old forward who plays his club ball with Santos Laguna doubled the Mexican lead in the 75th minute when he got his head on to a cross from Marco Fabian, who fired in cross from a free kick from the right wing that was set up by a foul committed by Marcelo.


Despite holding a 60/40 possession percentage edge (per London2012.com) and taking 19 shots to 12 by Mexico, Brazil lacked the cutting edge in the final third, where there always seemed to be too many green shirts and too many lunging legs with green socks blocking and deflecting shots and passes. For all his individual skills, Neymar was surrounded and smothered before he could get off his shot or thread that final pass on several occassions. Peralta, however, kept carving out space for himself amidst the Brazilian defense marshaled by Thiago Silva. In the 69th minute, he found the back of the net after being correctly whistled for offside. Minutes earlier, Fabian had nearly scored on a bicycle kick that cracked off the crossbar. Not long after both went close to doubling the lead individually, they would connect for the goal that would prove the game-winning score.

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Just as the many Mexico fans at Wembley Stadium were beginning to celebrate in earnest, Hulk pulled a goal back for Brazil in injury time. Moments later the bulky Brazilian with the apt moniker swung in a cross from the right wing, setting up Oscar with a clear chance to equalize. Rising, undefended, just yards from the goal, Oscar got his head to the ball but fired it over the crossbar.

After that miss, all that was left was the celebration for Mexico.

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  • Gold Medal Match

    Mexico's Oribe Peralta (9) controls the ball ahead of Brazil's Sandro (5) during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Fans attend the men's soccer final between Brazil and Mexico at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Oribe Peralta (9) scores the opening goal against Brazil during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Oribe Peralta (9) celebrates his goal with teammates including Marco Fabian (8)and Darvin Chavez (5) during the men's soccer final against Brazil at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico players celebrate a goal by teammate Oribe Peralta during the men's soccer final against Brazil at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Javier Aquino (11), Marco Fabian (8), Darvin Chavez (5) and Oribe Peralta (9) celebrate during the men's soccer final against Brazil at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil's Rafael Cabral (1) can't stop a goal by Mexico's Oribe Peralta during the men's soccer final between at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Hector Herrera (6) and Brazil's Neymar, right, vie for the ball during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Oribe Peralta (9) controls the ball against Brazil during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil's Juan Jesus (4) and Mexico's Hector Herrera (6) vie for the ball during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil's Sandro (5) and Brazil's Thiago Silva, right, battle for the ball with Mexico's Jorge Enriquez (14) during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Hiram Mier (4) battles for the ball with Brazil's Neymar during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil head coach Mano Menezes watches during the men's soccer final against Mexico at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Marco Fabian (8), Oribe Peralta (9) and Javier Aquino celebrate during the men's soccer final against Brazil at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Marco Fabian (8), Oribe Peralta (9) and Javier Aquino (11) celebrate during the men's soccer final against Brazil at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Fans attend the 2012 Summer Olympics final soccer game between Brazil and Mexico at the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug.11, 2012.

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    Brazil's Leandro Damiao (9) abd Brazil's Neymar (11) react during the men's soccer final against Mexico at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Mexico's Javier Aquino (11) and Brazil's Rafael (2) battle for the ball during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil's Marcelo (6) controls the ball under pressure from Mexico during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar wipes his hands with a towel during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Brazil's supporters cheer their team during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar (L) is helped by Brazil's forward Leandro Damiao (C) after he clashed with Mexico's goalkeeper Jose Corona (R) in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Neymar of Brazil rues a missed chance during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

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    Neymar of Brazil (R) controls the ball under pressure from Jorge Enriquez of Mexico during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

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    Thiago Silva of Brazil (L) battles for the ball with Marco Fabian of Mexico during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar reacts next to Mexico's defender Israel Jimenez in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar (R) vies for the ball with Mexico's defender Diego Reyes (L) during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar (C) is challenged for the ball by Mexico's defender Israel Jimenez (L) and Mexico's defender Hiram Mier in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Brazil's defender Romulo (2L) and Brazil's defender Thiago Silva (C) vie for the ball with Mexico's forward Oribe Peralta (R) during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Mexico's forward Marco Fabian controls the ball during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Marcelo of Brazil in action during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

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    Brazil's defender Marcelo (L) vies for the ball with Mexico's midfielder Hector Herrera during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Brazil's defender Thiago Silva (L) shoots the ball past Mexico's forward Marco Fabian in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Oribe Peralta of Mexico (L) and Juan Jesus of Brazil chase down the ball during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

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    Brazil's defender Thiago Silva (L) shoots the ball past Mexico's forward Marco Fabian in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Oscar of Brazil in action during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar (R) lies on the ground next to Mexico's midfielder Hector Herrera in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Brazil's midfielder Oscar (3L) jumps for the ball during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Brazil's forward Leandro Damiao (L) heads the ball past Mexico's defender Darvin Chavez (C) and Mexico's defender Diego Reyes in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Marco Fabian of Mexico (L) and Thiago Silva of Brazil compete for the ball during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

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    Brazil's forward Hulk runs for the ball in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar (L) is challenged for the ball by Mexico's defender Israel Jimenez in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Brazil's forward Hulk, Brazil's goalkeeper Gabriel, Brazil's forward Leandro Damiao, Brazil's defender Thiago Silva, Mexico's forward Oribe Peralta, Mexico's defender Diego Reyes and Brazil's defender Romulo eye the ball during the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.

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    Mexico's Carlos Salcido (3) and Hiram Mier (4) watch Brazil's Neymar (11) fall on the play during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil's Marcelo, left, kicks the ball under pressure from Mexico's Hector Herrera, right, during the men's soccer final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar (R) reacts after Mexico won the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium in London during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Brazil's goalkeeper Gabriel (R) fails to catch Mexico's forward Oribe Peralta's second goal in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium in London during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Mexico's forward Oribe Peralta (R) celebrates next to Mexico's midfielder Hector Herrera after he scored his team's second goal in the men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium in London during the London Olympic Games on August 11, 2012.

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    Brazil's forward Neymar (R) and Mexico's forward Marco Fabian greet each other after men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London. Mexico won 2-1.

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Oribe Peralta of Mexico (R) scores their second goal during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.

  • Gold Medal Match

    Brazil's forward Neymar (R) and Mexico's defender Hiram Mier greet each other after men's football final match between Brazil and Mexico at Wembley stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 in London.