This is the game that everyone has been waiting for since Spain was eliminated, as Brazil and Mexico were the two best teams left in the tournament after the 2010 World Cup Champs were sent home. They play two completely different styles of soccer; Brazil always going to goal, while the Mexicans prefer to build from the back to their forwards. Regardless, the 2012 Olympics Soccer Championship match on Saturday morning will be one of the best ever, and certainly one not to miss. Below is my full preview of the finals game on Saturday:
All-Time Soccer Medal Count:
Brazil: 2 Silver Medals (1984 and 1988)
2 Bronze Medals (1996 and 2008)
Mexico: 0 Medals
Mexican strikers Giovani de Santos, Orbie Peralta, and Marco Fabian combine to form one of the most aggressive front lines in the world. Santos is leading the team with 3 goals so far, while Peralta has also added 2 goals of his own.
Brazil is led by the electric play of superstar forward Neymar. He can score from anywhere inside the 18 and is faster with the ball than most are without it. He makes everyone on the team better and constantly draws the attention of at least two defenders at all time.
Neymar has also been aided by the very hot, Leonardo Damiao, who is the leading scorer of the tournament with 6 goals. Damiao has been able to put the ball in the back of the net and has really caught the attention of some of the bigger teams in Italy and England. No country in the world can compete with the always-aggressive Brazilian forwards, so it is unfair to try to compare the Mexican attack to the strikers groomed by Pele.
The Mexican midfield is led by Miguel Ponce from Chivas, who has played outstanding in the tournament and rarely has a poor first touch. Fellow mid, Hector Herrera, scored a huge goal in the vicious game against Senegal, and the gritty midfielder even stayed in the game after being kicked in the face by a Senegal player.
The Brazilian midfield is perhaps the strongest part of their team with the new pride of Chelsea, Oscar, dictating the offense and Sandro making amazing runs down the sideline.
Both teams feature some stellar defensive players. Mexican defenders Darvin Chavez and Israel Jimenez are both 22 years old and have matured well over the last couple months of Olympic soccer. Mexico’s defenders are more traditional with their style of play. They stay predominantly at home and mostly mark up as man-to-man.
Brazil on the other hand, loves to send their fast defenders up to make runs. They are led by Real Madrid’s star defender, Macelo, and along with Porto’s Alex Sandro anchoring the back-line; both of which are among the best young defenders in South America. Plus, the team also has veteran Thiago Silva to control the defense’s aggressiveness and Manchester United’s star offensive-defender, Rafael.
The Mexicans are rock solid between the woodwork with Jose Corona. Corona has been spectacular in the Olympics and has been the team’s one constant. He comes off his line with authority and will be the hardest test that the Brazilian offense has had.
Brazil on the other hand, lost their starting goaltender, Rafael, right before the Olympics started, so the team was left to go with a platoon at the position. They had Neto in the net for the first two games, but over the last three games the team has gone with the much younger Gabriel. The 19-year old net-minder has looked very nervous in net so far. He struggles at catching easy balls and has the nerves of a kid at the prom. Goal-tending is by far the team’s weakest position and it may come back to haunt the team down the stretch.
Prediction: Brazil 4- Mexico 3
Game MVP: Neymar, Brazil