CARDIFF, Wales -- After just three matches, Mexico has achieved history at the Olympic Games.
No other Mexican team had achieved such a good showing in the group stage as the 2012 squad did, getting seven points out of three matches and finishing first in Group B. The facts are not lost on manager Luis Fernando Tena, who guided El Tri to the quarterfinals.
"We finished first, that was our primary objective," Tena beamed. Despite a shaky first half in which Switzerland dominated, El Tri was able to stand firm in the back and come back in the second half to win the game with an Oribe Peralta goal.
"We got a lot better in the second half, in the first half it was a lot more complicated for us because Switzerland closed down our spaces and created opportunities in our defensive half. In the second half, we had a lot more of the ball and that allowed us to push forward with clarity," Tena noted.
Mexico has not given up a single goal in the tournament, a fact that overshadows its somewhat paltry offensive showing, having scored just three times in the same amount of games. According to Tena, the defensive showing has allowed El Tri to grind tough matches out in London 2012.
"It's important not to have received a single goal. That starts with Marco [Fabian] Gio [dos Santos] and Oribe [Peralta] up front, our defense is also giving [goalkeeper] Jesus Corona security in the back."
"I think that the team has been getting better with each match, the players have raised their level and acquired a better rhythm as time goes on," Tena said.
Mexico now awaits the results from Group A to find out who it will play against in the quarterfinals, a group in which three teams (including hosts Great Britain and Uruguay) are still alive.
"We're conscious that we have to keep getting better. Whomever we play [in the quarterfinals] is going to be a lot tougher than [the teams] we've faced," Tena finished.
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