Olympics: Mexico, Brazil advance to semifinals in men’s soccer
By Dialogo August 06, 2012
LONDON – Mexico advanced to its first Olympic semifinal since 1968 by scoring twice in extra time in a 4-2 win over Senegal, with Brazil moving to within two wins of its first Olympic gold by rallying for a 3-2 win over Honduras.
Mexico will face Japan in a semifinal at Wembley Stadium on Aug. 7, as the Japanese are coming off a dominating, 3-0 win over Egypt. Brazil will face South Korea on the same day at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester. South Korea defeated host Great Britain in penalty kicks, 5-4, after the teams played to a 1-1 draw.
Mexico took control early against Senegal, as Jorge Enríquez García scored in the 10th minute. The Mexicans doubled their lead in the 62nd minute on a goal by Javier Aquino Carmona. But Senegal rallied, as Moussa Konate and Ibrahima Baldé scored in a span of seven minutes to tie the game with 14 minutes left.
The game went into extra time, where Giovani Dos Santos scored what turned out to be the eventual game-winning goal in the 98th minute, with Héctor Herrera adding another tally in the 109th minute to provide the final margin.
The victory in front of a crowd of 81,855 at Wembley Stadium continued what has been an impressive run for El Tri in London. Mexico, which has never finished higher than fourth at the Olympics, arrived in London having traditionally struggled at the event.
In its nine previous appearances – Amsterdam in 1928, London 1948, Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Montreal 1976, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 – the team advanced out of pool play three times, reaching the semifinals in 1968 and the quarterfinals in 1972 and 1996.
Brazil also is looking for its first gold at the Olympics – the only major international tournament it hasn’t won.
The Brazilians were pushed at St. James’ Park by Honduras, which took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute on a goal by Mario Roberto Martínez before Brazil tied the game on a goal by Leandro Damião in the 38th minute.
Honduras struck again in the 48th minute when Roger Espinoza gave his team a 2-1 lead, but Brazil’s Neymar answered with a penalty shot two minutes later.
Brazil took the lead for good in the 60th minute, when Damião scored the game-winner past goalie José Mendoza.