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It’s 100% possible for Mexico to beat Brazil today

All they have to do is review their history. The last few match-ups between these two teams have been epic battles. Even before the Olympics, in an international friendly, Mexico put the smack down on this team. People argued it was a fluke until the *unthinkable happened — Mexico beat out Brazil for the gold medal last summer.

When: Today, June 19 at 12 p.m. PDT
Watch: ESPN, ESPN3 stream

And if we need a little inspiration to get behind the team, the player and the Chepo, just take a look at what happens when you leave it all out on the field.

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Olympics Day 15 - Men's Football Final - Brazil v Mexico

PHOTOS: All from 2012 Olympic medal game held at Wembley Stadium last August.

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el grito de Wembley

¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron oro! ¡Viva Peralta! ¡Viva Dos Santos! ¡Viva Corona! ¡Viva Fabián! ¡Vivan Chatón y Herrera! ¡Viva el orgullo nacional! ¡Viva el campeón olímpico! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

If it’s not perfectly obvious yet, Mexico won Olympic gold — hell, an Olympic medal — for the first time. Congratulations to the team, staff and fans who never stopped believing. This is my version of El Grito de Dolores, our independence proclamation.

 

On the edge of glory

Did anyone else catch the song playing in the stadium after Olympic soccer semi? What I heard from my web stream was Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.”

A tense final minutes, followed by an intense few seconds. Goosebumps. Jumping. Yelling. Watery eyes.

Heart rate settles back down and I hear Gaga. Whoa! Who knew that a song about getting a guy would be the PERFECT thing for this Olympic occasion?

I don’t know who was considered the favorite coming in to today’s game. What was known was that Japan had not conceded a single goal in the competition. Those odds were definitely not in Mexico’s favor when it found itself on the wrong side of a 1-0 score in the early minutes of the game.

Those plucky Mexicans came back to tie. To lead. And to extend it in additional time.

Now, they’ll face Brazil, a team who is on its own windmill-chasing quest. Brazil hasn’t won a medal since 1988. They’ve never won gold. Everyone says it’s their time. They’ve put in the effort and they’ve waited through the years.

I say, Screw that! Mexico hasn’t won a medal, period. We need this more than Brazil. They’re already established in the upper-echelons of football. Mexico is one of those good-but-not-great teams that’s easily dismissed by Europe and South America.

¡No más!

Don’t push us cuz we’re close to the edge… of glory!

PHOTOS: Oribe Peralta (9) falls to his knees at the end of the match that will send Mexico to finals; Other teammates celebrate.

No que no!!! Mexico goes for gold

I told you so!

The worn-out refrain of any Mexico fan is that we are going to win — the match, the tournament, the gold medal. People will always support their teams, but Mexico fans are blindingly optimistic that borders on naïve. We are fanatics. The country can be going to shit but if El TRI performs well (even the u-17), all’s well in the world.

The flipside of that coin is the contingent of naysayers who always think Mexico will lose. The people who think we have a bunch of talent but no idea how to convert it to goals and wins. The low-expectation crowd that isn’t disappointed when we lose and is surprised when we win.

Like my cousin…

That first text arrived shortly after the start of the second half of the Mexico-Japan Olympic semifinal. They were tied 1-1. She says Mexico will play their hearts out but lose, like always. I “politely” tell her to shut up. And seconds later, Mexico scores!!! GOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL de MEXICOOOOOOOO

Eat it!

Mexico will be on the medal stand. The quest for Olympic gold continues.

Rocky-style victory lap for Mexico

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.

London-bound. Let’s keep the hookers out of the hotel, eh?

The big news of the weekend — Mexico is going to London! Yeah, BABY!!!!

The top two teams of the region automatically go to the Summer Olymics. Though there’d be some bragging rights to winning CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifying tournament, the real goal was getting out of semis. And, Mexico did just that in a 3-1 victory over Canada. Tomorrow is the final.

But more than that, this was redemption for the Sub-23 Mexican team. 2011 was a red-letter year for Mexican soccer. Chicharito and friends stampeded through the CONCACAF Gold Cup and came back from behind to win the championship over the U.S. (There they are hoisting the Gold Cup trophy.)

The chavitos hosted the U-17 World Cup and had a Hollywood-esque game against Germany in the semi-finals. Complete with Olympic goals, bandaged heads and bicycle kicks. They won the whole thing and swept the awards — Gold, Silver and Bronze Balls. (There’s Julio Gomez rocking a bandage.)

And then we get to the Sub-23 team. What did they do? Well, they were sent to particpate in South America’s Copa America — where they had an epic fail, losing every single game.

But the drama started well before when eight players were suspended and sent home. Allegedly, some of the players invited prostitutes into their hotel. And those ladies of the night ended up stealing a lot of valuable electronics. Instead of keeping mum, the players report the stolen stuff. An investigation reveals the prositutes and the rule-breaking. Who would have thought differently?

How do you heal that wounded pride…? Win an Olympic bid for your country. I mean that will shut me up.

PHOTOS (from top): Mexico celebrates during Saturday, March 31 win over Canada; Andres Guardado, Gio Dos Santos and Chicharito celebrate Gold Cup win; U-17 player Julio Gomez kisses Golden Ball award.