Brazil to face Mexico in London 2012 gold medal football match

Tuesday, 07 August 2012
By David Gold

Leandro Damiao_L_celebrates_scoring_Brazils_defender_Romulo_RAugust 7 - Favourites Brazil will face Mexico as they moved to within 90 minutes of winning their first ever Olympic football gold medal.

Brazil beat South Korea 3-0 at Old Trafford in Manchester as they cruised into the final.

The South Koreans, having beaten hosts Britain on penalties in the last eight, started the game as the brighter side but fell behind before half-time.

Oscar ran with the ball towards the area before feeding Rômulo (pictured above, right), whose shot squeezed in.

Brazil wrapped up victory in the second half thanks to two goals from Internacional's Leandro Damião (pictured above, left), who has enjoyed an excellent London 2012 Olympics to date.

First he fired home Neymar's cut back, and then produced some nimble footwork to side foot in after good work between Oscar and Neymar.

Leandro Damiao_of_Brazil_reacts_after_scoring_during_the_London_2012_mens_football_semi_final_match_against_South_KoreaLeandro Damiao of Brazil celebrates after scoring during the London 2012 semi-final match against South Korea

That meant Damião has scored six goals in Brazil's five games so far in London, and Mexico will have to keep a close eye on the forward, who is equally adept at linking up in build up play as he is at finishing moves off.

Mexico reached the final by ending the run of the impressive Japanese, who were aiming to replicate the feat of their women's team, who reached their gold medal match last night.

Japan took the lead at Wembley against Luis Fernando Tena's side, with Yuki Otsu's brilliant curling effort putting them ahead.

The talented Marco Fabian headed home an equaliser from close range before half time following a corner.

Oribe Peralta then robbed Takahiro Ogihara when the defender dwelled on the ball too long and fired in a strike every bit as good as Otsu's to put the Mexicans in front in the second period.

Takahiro Ohgihara_of_Japan_battles_with_Oribe_Peralta_of_Mexico_during_the_Mens_Football_Semi_Final_match_between_Mexico_and_JapanTakahiro Ohgihara (left) battles with Oribe Peralta during the semi-final match between Mexico and Japan

Javier Cortes made the game safe in injury time with a low finish.

Japan will now face neighbours South Korea for the bronze medal.

Although Brazil are favourites in the final, Mexico will go into the match full of confidence having won the last encounter between the two teams just before the Olympics.

Tena's side won that game 2-0, although they are missing some key players who played in that match.

The match will be a battle between two of the best young teams in world football; Mexico are reigning under-17 world champions, while Brazil hold the under-20 title.

There will definitely be a new name lifting the Olympic crown, it being the one major international title Brazil have never won, while Mexico are also bidding to win the title for the first time.

Brazil will hope to make it third time lucky having appeared in the tournament finale twice previously.

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