Olympic Preview: Brazil - Mexico
The Samba stars have reached the final twice in the past, in 1984 and then four years later, but both times they could only get silver medals. El Tri are in the way this time.
By Ryan Benson
Rafael, Thiago Silva, Juan, Marcelo
Romulo, Sandro, Oscar
Hulk, Leandro, Neymar
Israel, Reyes, Araujo, Chavez
Aquino, Cortes, Fabian
Brazil's starting XI should include few changes. However, left back Alex Sandro, who played in a central midfield role against South Korea, could be replaced by Hulk as Oscar scoots back in a deeper role.
Neymar and Olympics top scorer Leandro Damiao will lead the line in attack with the Internacional man holding off the presence of Alexandre Pato throughout the tournament to keep his place. New Paris Saint-Germain signing Lucas Moura will be pushing for a starting place after a number of encouraging cameo appearances. However, he will likely be used from the bench if needed.
Since its opening day 0-0 draw with South Korea, Mexico have settled with a fairly consistent starting lineup and that looks likely to continue in the final.
The three over-age players Carlos Salcido, Jose Corona and Oribe Peralta will start for El Tri. However, Giovani dos Santos has been ruled out with a foot injury, meaning Javier Cortes could take his place alongside Javier Aquino and Marco Fabian in the advanced midfield positions.
In the semifinal victory over Japan, right back Israel Jimenez struggled with a knock late on but should be fine to start against Mano Menezes' side.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Leandro Damiao (pictured right) is the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.
Brazil has won all of its games en route to the final, scoring three goals in each match.
This is the first time Brazil has reached the Olympic final since 1988 when players such as Romario and Bebeto played.
The Selecao have never won gold in men's Olympic soccer, settling for silver in 1984 and again four years later.
Mexico and Brazil met in a warmup match just prior to the tournament, and Mexico came out on top with a 2-0 win.
With 15 and 10 goals, Brazil and Mexico are respectively the tournament’s two top-scoring teams. Giovani and Co. have managed one more than Menezes' men in the knockout phase.
Carlos Salcido will be the most experienced player on the pitch on Saturday with the 32-year-old racking up 103 caps at the full international level.
In the last eight meetings between these two sides, both teams have four wins apiece, with two of Brazil's victories coming in friendlies to Mexico's one.
Top 3 Predictions
Brazil Under 23 3-1 Mexico U23
- 22.1 %
Brazil Under 23 1-2 Mexico U23
- 15.04 %
Brazil Under 23 2-1 Mexico U23
- 10.84 %
|Olympic Games (OLY)||Aug 11, 2012||Brazil Under 23 1 - Mexico U23 2|
|Brazil Under 23|
|Aug 11, 2012||Brazil Under 23 1 - Mexico U23 2||OLY|
|Aug 7, 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - South Korea Under 23 0||OLY|
|Aug 4, 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - Honduras U23 2||OLY|
|Aug 1, 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - New Zealand Under 23 0||OLY|
|Jul 29, 2012||Brazil Under 23 3 - Belarus U-23 1||OLY|
|10||Giovani dos Santos||Striker|