Brazil heartbreak as Mexico upset the party to take football gold at Wembley

Brazil 1 Mexico 2

For once the Mexican wave was not out of place at a British ground today but by the end of the Olympic football final, thousands of Brazilian followers in the near-capacity crowd were in no mood to join in.

Those who had not walked out before Hulk's late goal offered brief hope of a reprieve simply sat stunned at their team's latest unsuccessful attempt to win the gold medal. Instead Mexico, playing patiently and making the most of their opportunities, won not only their first football title but a first gold of these Games.

With Tottenham's Giovani dos Santos injured, they fielded an unregarded side composed entirely of players from the domestic league. Only the name of Carlos Salcido, winner of more than 100 full caps, and once of PSV Eindhoven and Fulham, stirred any recognition. Brazil in contrast had representatives of clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, Milan and Paris Saint-Germain and a substitutes' bench including Alexandre Pato, Hulk and Lucas Moura. Much good did it do them. Shaken by conceding a goal in the opening 30 seconds - only Everton's Louis Saha has ever scored a quicker one in the new stadium - the overwhelming favourites did not regroup with any conviction until the last quarter of an hour before half-time. 

Dominant on either side of the interval, they then paid for the defensive laxity that so often seems to go hand in hand at all levels with the country's exciting attacking. Oribe Peralta, one of Mexico's over-age players, scored his second goal and not until Britain's representative Mark Clattenburg was about to usher in a short period of added time did Hulk's shot suggest the Mexicans could be denied. There was just time for Chelsea's new £25 million acquisition Oscar to miss with a header that will haunt him for the rest of his career. The equally heralded Neymar was more involved throughout, though to no greater effect. All in all it was no dish, Mexican or otherwise, to set before the 71 year-old Pele, who had travelled specially for the game. 

So it was a shame-faced Brazilian squad that returned from the dressing-room for the medal ceremony, looking as if they would rather be anywhere else. Five times their country has won the World Cup, but never the Olympics. Those who feel that hardly matters should listen to Mano Menezes, coach to both teams, who will now fear for his job. “We all know that we need to win the gold,” he had said before the game. "Brazil has to win every tournament it plays, it needs to win every match it plays, even if it’s a friendly - and this time even more."

His side had scored three goals in every previous game, though the five conceded hinted that this was a Brazilian defence no more secure than normal. That much was confirmed as early as the 28th second of the final. The goal stemmed from a bad error by United's Rafael, who tried to play the ball inside from the touchline, finding it snapped up and pushed forward by Javier Aquino. Peralta, unmarked, was sufficiently alert to squeeze a low shot between goalkeeper Gabriel and the near post. The more unforgiving Brazilian supporters booed Rafael when he was later substituted and when he received his silver medal; a fate that was spared the even more unpopular Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who wisely kept a low profile during the ceremony.

If Mexico made scarcely another chance in the first hour, they pressed so effectively and worked so hard that Brazil did not threaten either until the last ten minutes of the opening half. The favourites' revival began with the introduction of Hulk, the Porto forward, for his club-mate Alex Sandro. Taking up a position of the right of midfield and cutting inside to good effect, he immediately hit a fearsome effort from 30 yards that the goalkeeper Jose Corona only just kept out.

Brazil finished the half with attempts by Marcelo, the ever adventurous Real Madrid left-back, Romulo and Neymar and early in the second period Neymar was close twice more. Suddenly, however, the focus of attention switched as Brazil's Achilles heel was left exposed. Fabian aimed one arrow at it, courtesy of a howler by the £30m defender Thiago Silva, hitting the bar; Peralta would have scored had he not carelessly strayed offside; Fabian headed too high from a corner. In the 75th minute, with the Brazilians arguing among themselves, Fabian took a disputed free-kick on the right and Peralta easily lost his marker to head in unattended.

When it seemed too late to matter, Hulk ran through to score on his weaker right foot; then he crossed for Oscar, unmarked, to head wide from five yards. It was an inglorious end to a forgettable day for football's most revered nation.

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband