thumbnail Hello,


  • 7 August 2012
  • • 17:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: G. Rocchi
  • • Attendance: 82372

Mexico - Japan Preview: Two unbeaten sides just one game away from gold medal match

Mexico - Japan Preview: Two unbeaten sides just one game away from gold medal match


Having not suffered defeat in this tournament, the two teams meet to decide who will contest for first place after some highly impressive displays



Jimenez, Salcido, Mier, Chavez, Reyes
Aquino, Enriquez, Fabian
Dos Santos, Peralta


Tokunaga, Ogihara, Sakai, Yoshida, Suzuki
Otsu, Higashi, Yamaguchi, Kiyotake

With no injury or suspension concerns, Mexico are likely to be unchanged from the side that overcame Senegal 4-2 in their quarter-final, with Tottenham’s Giovani dos Santos set to continue leading the line.

Japan looked highly impressive as they demolished Egypt 3-0 in their quarter-final, and will be unlikely to tinker with the 4-5-1 formation that has brought them so much success in the tournament thus far.

  • Mexico first made their debut in the Olympic football tournament in Amsterdam in 1928, losing 7-1 to Spain in the first round.
  • The Mexicans have never won an Olympic medal for football in either the men’s or women’s tournaments, with their effort this year being the furthest they have ever reached.
  • Only one of their squad plays outside of the Mexican Primera Division – striker Giovani dos Santos moved to Tottenham from Barcelona in 2008 but has made only a handful of appearances for their first-team since.
  • These two sides faced each other in the bronze medal match in the 1968 Olympic football tournament, hosted in Mexico City. The Japanese prevailed on that occasion, winning 2-0 at the Azteca.
  • These two teams played a warm-up game before this Olympic tournament at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, with the Japanese taking a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Higashi Keigo and Otsu Yuki.
  • Japan made their debut in the 1936 Olympic football tournament in Berlin, reaching the quarter-finals before losing 8-0 to Italy, the eventual gold medal winners.
  • The Japanese won the 2010 Asian Games football tournament with a similar squad to that of their current Olympic squad, defeating UAE 1-0 in the final thanks to a Yuki Saneto goal.
  • Midfielder Takashi Usami (pictured right) has spent the last couple of seasons playing in the Bundesliga, but only joined clubs Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim on loan from J-League side Gamba Osaka.
  • Japan’s last appearance in an Olympics quarter-final ended in a penalty shootout defeat to the United States in 2000.

Players to watch

G. dos Santos

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Despite struggling to assert himself on the Tottenham first team, Giovani dos Santos continues to impress for Mexico, having scored three goals in the tournament so far. He will need to be at his best again to break down a Japanese defence that is yet to concede a goal.

K. Nagai

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Playing the role of lone striker to great effect, Kensuke Nagai will need to continue to cause problems up front if Japan are to progress through this round. The Nagoya Grampus man has scored two goals so far, and will be key to the Japanese attacking play.

Editor's Prediction

With Mexico’s flowing, attacking football and Japan’s solid defence, this game could be decided by one mistake by either side, and could last beyond normal time and into the dreaded penalty shootout. However, given their form and flair, the Mexicans should just have enough to take the win, but may need longer than 90 minutes.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Mexico U23

Japan U23


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Mexico Under 23 MEX
Mexico Under 23 Mexico U23
Japan Under 23 JAP
Japan Under 23 Japan U23

Top 3 Predictions

Mexico Under 23 MEX
2 - 1
Japan Under 23 JAP
Mexico Under 23 MEX
1 - 2
Japan Under 23 JAP
Mexico Under 23 MEX
0 - 2
Japan Under 23 JAP