Play this to set the reading mood.
I’m imagining the Rocky soundtrack playing in the background as Hector Herrera starts running around the field, arms wide open, grin even wider. Mexico will — at least — equal their best appearance in an Olympic games. They’re going to the semifinals.
That victory lap is very well-deserved. Those quarterfinal games of Men’s Olympic Soccer over the weekend were a cardiac-arrest moment for fans all over the world. Honduras took an early lead on Brazil, only to see it stripped away. Team GB goes all the way to penalty kicks against Korea. Only one player — the last player — missed his PK, which unfortunately knocked out the host team.
And Mexico, yes mis tricolores, played 120 minutes to secure a spot in the semifinals. Tied 2-2 after regulation, Mexico scored in the first 15 minutes of extra time.
It’s way more stressful to watch as a team hangs to the slimmest of leads. It’s in those situations when you realize that time really is a fickle bitch — if you want to savor a moment, it flies; if you want it to hurry up and be done; it feels like it goes backwards.
Herrera brought the collective sigh of relief when he scored the definitive 4-2 goal against Senegal.
The semifinal round starts tomorrow. Mexico will face off against Japan at 9 a.m. PST. Then, Brazil and Korea play at 11:45 a.m. PST.
As I settle in for another excruciating 90 minutes, I’ll blast up the Rocky theme song and let the boys in green relish in a little more running… and jumping.
PHOTOS (from top): Mexico’s four goal-scorers celebrate during the game. Hector Herrera runs like mad in the final goal of the match. Gio Dos Santos, Jorge Enriquez and Javier Aquino celebrate. Aquino keeps the piggy-back party alive. Herrera, Dos Santos, Aquino and Enriquez each scored a goal.