Oribe Peralta scored off an assist from Giovani dos Santos in the second half to guide Mexico to the next round after winning Group B.CARDIFF, Wales -- El Tri needed a point and got three.
Mexico moved one step closer to getting a medal at the 2012 Olympic Games after advancing to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland at Millennium Stadium on Wednesday.
Oribe Peralta scored the game's only goal off an assist from Giovani dos Santos as Mexico won Group B. El Tri had only needed a tie against the Swiss after picking up a draw and win in their first two games.
"We are happy," said forward Marco Fabian. "It was our objective to qualify and now we have to aim to be at the final."
Dos Santos started ahead of Miguel Ponce for the first time in three Olympic games this summer and it proved to be the right move. Coach Luis Fernando Tena had previously stated that the winger wasn't fit to play a full 90 after taking a vacation and joining the team late, an accusation that Dos Santos had denied.
Switzerland dominated the first half with several scoring chances going just wide of Jose Corona's post. The Swiss had nine shots in the half compared to four for Mexico.
Switzerland's best chance to get on the board first came in the 15th minute when Admir Mehmedi had a clear path to the goal before defender Javier Aquino chased him down to disrupt the play. Had Mehmedi gone down right away, there could have very likely been a penalty opportunity.
Dos Santos gave the Mexicans a lift right before halftime by firing a rocket straight into Diego Benaglio's chest. Moments later, Javier Aquino raced down the middle of the pitch through two Swiss defenders but was taken down by Francois Affolter outside the box.
Dos Santos stepped up for the ensuing free kick and barely missed the top right corner of the net as the seconds ticked off and players headed to the locker room for halftime.
"First half they got the ball, we didn't touch it," Ponce said. "But, in the second half, we were patient."
Both teams appeared to have a tough time on a damp pitch in the first half and the conditions got even worse as there was a brief downpour during the intermission. Shortly after starting back up, Switzerland defender Nexter Vidrio slipped as he tried to pass the ball, giving Mexico a free path in the box.
Unlike the first half, Mexico had become the more aggressive team in the final 45 minute. Playing with a sense of urgency, the Mexicans more than tripled their shot tally from the first half and it appeared to be only a matter of time before a ball got past the goal line.
The night's lone goal was set up by both Javier Aquino and Dos Santos. Aquino found Dos Santos at the top of the box and the Tottenham man walked it in through traffic before Peralta picked it up off his feet and fired past the keeper in the 69th minute.
"I am glad he scored," Tena said. "He usually has his back toward the goal in that position, but it was a good thing for us and I am very glad that he got our goal."
Mexico remained in attack mode until the very end as Peralta nearly added to his tally in the 88th minute but his header went just wide. Switzerland, meanwhile, couldn't regain any of the momentum it had in the first half and watched its medal hopes fade.
Mexico will travel to London to face the runner up of Group A on Saturday.