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7 August 2012
• Wembley Stadium, London
Referee: G. Rocchi
• Attendance: 82372
M. Fabián 31'
O. Peralta 65'
J. Cortés 90'+
Y. Otsu 12'
Full-time and Mexico deservedly advance to the Gold medal match with a 3-1 victory over Japan. The Samurai Blue had the better of the opening few minutes and went ahead with an excellent Yuki Otsu strike, but La Verde improved and equalised through Marco Fabian's header from a corner. As the game went on Mexico enjoyed more possession though Japan, who had not yet conceded a goal going into the match, looked solid. However Ogihara turned the match in Mexico's favour with a shocking error that Peralta to take the lead with another excellent shot from range. Japan initially rallied and built a series of moves that threatened their opponents, but their momentum did not last and Mexico comfortably repelled their attacks before grabbing a late third goal through substitute Javier Cortes. El Tricolor functioned well throughout the game, and showcased a highly flexible formation that allowed Marco Fabian to impress in a fluid midfield while Darvin Chavez and Javier Aquino advanced up the flanks, and they will now take the reward for their performance through into Saturday's final.
90' + 3'
Assist O. Peralta
90' + 3'
Goal J. Cortés
Keeper Corona moves the ball out to the right flank where the pacey Javier Cortes exchanges passes with Peralta, who beautifully backheels the ball back into his path. Cortes bursts into the right side of the box and rolls the ball under Japanese keeper Gondo in what proves the last act of the game.
90' + 2'
Tokunaga launches the ball forward from left back and but his forwards are unable to take advantage.
Mexico take off Aquino and bring on Javier Cortes in a like-for-like change to run the clock down a few seconds.
Chavez makes yet another run down the left flank and rolls the ball into Marco Fabian in the box. The number 8 juggles the ball before laying off to Aquino, who slices the shot wide and over the bar.
Mexico look solid in defence as their opponents struggle to get the ball forward in the limited time available to them. In searching for a winner Japan frequently look in danger of allowing Mexico to break and it looks like they are heading out at the semi-final stage.
Saito drops off to receive the ball in space from defence and passes to Sugimoto, who returns the pass, allowing Saito to shoot over the bar from the left edge of the box.
Mexico confidently probe in search for a winner as Japan desperately try to win the ball back, and Raul Jimenez is released down the left edge of the box before being dispossessed and denied a corner.
Midfielder Ogihara is taken off for another striker in the form of Manabu Saito.
Yamaguchi gives the ball away with another sloppy pass, and Mexico begin to kill the game by passing the ball around the box. Then Marco Fabian is found on the left flank and he attempts to get a cross in, but the ball returns to Gonda for a Japan goal kick.
Otsu overhits his pass to Nagai on the left flank as Mexico begin to regain control of the game.
Winger Usami comes on in place of Kiyotake to bring fresh legs to the Japan attack.
Marco Fabian is felled in the Japan box prompting suggestions of a penalty, but Japan play on an nothing is called.
Japan up the tempo and substitute Sugimoto knocks an aerial ball down for his side to build up play on the left flank.
Chavez launches cross from deep on the left flank towards Raul Jimenez but the ball nearly bounces to Aquino on the right edge of the box.
Sugimoto is noticeably taller than Nagai and immediately wins a corner for his side. Japan build on the opportunity and Mexico struggle to get the ball out of their half.
Midfielder Higashi is taken off for forward Kenyu Sugimoto, who takes the place up front that previously belonged to Nagai.
Yamaguchi blasts a shot well over the bar after a right flank freekick was cleared by the Mexico defence, and Mexico enjoy the opportunity of a rest as Corona waits to take the goal kick.
Yellow Card M. Fabián
Goal O. Peralta
Goal Mexico! The experienced Carlos Salcido launches a long ball up to Chavez who hares up the left flank and just about reaches the pass, before rolling the ball into Peralta's path. Keeper Gonda confidently claims the effort before rolling the ball out to Ohgihara in midfield. To his side's horror the midfielder attempts a blind turn and is robbed by Peralta on the edge of the box. The number 9 looks up and floats the ball into the top left corner beyond the despairing Gonda and forces Japan to search for an equaliser in the remaining 25 minutes.
Mexico are beginning to shade possession, with Japan starting to make clearance straight after regaining the ball rather than looking to regain possession.
Marco Fabian swings in a freekick from the left flank but it is blocked, and though the ball is worked back up to Raul Jimenez, he is offside and his shot is dragged wide.
Aquino intercepts a Japan pass out to the left flank but struggles to make the most of the opportunity for a quick break.
Yellow Card Hiroki Sakai
Sakai incurs a caution for a foul on Marco Fabian.
Japan beautifully play the ball across their back line to draw Mexico in before working the ball up to their forwards. The move breaks down and Ohgihara is forced to make a tactical foul as Mexico's Mier advances with the ball from the back. Both sides are impressive and it looks like a mistake or a piece of individual skill will separate the two side, if anything.
Aquino is released down the right flank but his pass in to Peralta is expertly intercepted by Yamaguchi.
Marco Fabian comes in from the left flank to blast a shot and win a corner for his side. Japan are awarded a freekick after their keeper is obstructed.
Kiyotake and Yamaguchi work a neat combination from a throw-in on the right flank to allow the latter to take a shot from the right edge of the box. It is blocked, but striker Nagai follows up and his strike arrows over the top left corner.
Kiyotake takes a pair of corners for Japan from the left flank, but each is cleared comfortably.
Giovani dos Santos
Mexico take off playmaker Giovani dos Santos, the side's leading goalscorer with two strikes in the opener agaionst Gabon, for a more orthodox striker in Raul Jimenez, who stands at 6'3'' tall and should complement the more agile force of Oribe Peralta up front.
Japan get the second half underway.
It's Halftime at Wembley and Japan and Mexico stand at 1-1 as they contend for a place in the final against either Brazil or South Korea. Japan had the better of the opening exchanges and strung together a controlled sequence of passes either side of Yuki Otsu's excellent opening goal. But Mexico improved and went on to control possession, as the dribbling ability of Giovani dos Santos and Marco Fabian threatened to carve open Japan's defence, with the Spurs man missing a clear chance midway through the half, and were worth the goal that did eventually come their way through Marco Fabian's header from a corner via a Jorge Enriquez flick-on. Each side has utilised a highly fluid formation, making the match pleasing to watch, and we must hope the second half provides similar entertainment as the pressure starts to build as the pair contend for a place in the gold meda. match.
Right winger Aquino combines well with right wing back Israel Jimenez to run behind the defence on the right side of the box, but he is unable to find the target with his shot.
Mexico pass the ball around the back with versatile former PSV and Fulham defender, 32-year-old Carlos Salcido taking a prominent role. But Japan press from the front and are eventually successful in winning the ball, but their move breaks down.
Javier Aquino overlaps on the right flank to float in an excellent cross which Japan look nervy in clearing. It's Mexico who look the stronger now.
Mexico break quickly and Marco Fabian finds dos Santos running into the box from the left wing, who chips his shot from an angle over the bar.
Assist Jorge Enríquez
Goal M. Fabián
Goal Mexico! Giovani dos Santos swings in a left-footed corner from the right flank, Jorge Enriquez rises high at the near post above Japanese captain Yoshida to flick on the delivery, and Marco Fabian evades his marker left back Tokonaga to head in from inside the six yard box.
Goal Mexico! Marco Fabian!
Mexico exchange passes at pace around the Japan box and although Fabian's shot is blocked the ball breaks to dos Santos who has his side's best chance of the game to equalise. He tries to bend the ball round the defence into the right corner of the goal from the left side of the box, but it goes wide and he should really have gone with his right foot.
Diego Reyes wins the ball off Nagai who attempts to shield the ball on the left flank, but then loses control of the ball, gets frustrated, and then concedes a foul in attempting to regain it.
Mexico enjoy a spell of possession and look to be regaining composure after the shock of conceding the early goal.
Marco Fabian improvises on the left touch line to keep the ball in play before receiving the return pass and stabbing a hurried effort in the direction of Japan keeper Shuichi Gonda, but the ball trickles wide.
Japan string together an excellent set of passes from left to right in front of the Mexico defence, and the move ends when Hotaru Yamaguchi takes the shot from the right edge of the box, which is blocked. Their formation is fluid and it has been effective so far.
Assist Keigo Higashi
Goal Yuki Otsu
Japan 1-0! After a controlled exchange of passes in midfield centred around the left flank sees Borussia Moenchengladbach's Yuki Otsu receive the ball outside the left edge of the box. He controls the ball and takes the opportunity to smash a sweet strike into the top right corner of the goal past Corona. After a nervy start his side have settled into the game and put together some nice exchanges in the first 15 minutes.
Takahiro Ohgihara advances forward from the back aiming to build up play for Japan, but the move breaks down when Mexico's Darvin Chavez reads the play accurately and intercepts the final ball.
Nuremberg midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake strikes a low shot from range that is only narrowly wide of Mexico keeper Jose Corona's near post, and is given a corner for his effort, which Corona intercepts.
Mexico striker Oribe Peralta takes advantage of defensive hesitance to take the ball and blast over the frame of the goal.
Tottenham forward Giovani dos Santos cuts inside and lays off for Javier Aquino to take a shot which harmlessly trickles wide of Japan keeper Gonda's post.
And Mexico get the game underway at Wembley!
Japan: Gonda; H Sakai, Suzuki, Yoshida (c), Tokunaga; Kiyotake, Yamaguchi, Ohgihara, Higashi; Otsu, Nagai. Substitutes: Ando, Yamamura, G Sakai, Muramatsu, Usami, Saito, Sugimoto.
Mexico: Corona; I Jimenez, Salcido, Mier, Reyes, Chavez; Aquino, Enriquez, Fabian; dos Santos, Peralta Substitutes: Rodriguez, Vidrio, Araujo, Ponce, Herrera, Cortes, R Jimenez
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's Live play-by-play of London 2012's first semi-final between Mexico and Japan. I'm Arthur Virgo here to talk through the game's events.
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