WEMBLEY, England (AP):
With a goal in 29 seconds, Mexico extended Brazil's wait for a first Olympic football gold for at least another four years.
Oribe Peralta stunned the Brazilians by scoring as some fans were still making it to their seats for the final at Wembley Stadium yesterday. The heavily favoured South Americans never recovered, losing 2-1 after a late comeback attempt came up just short.
"I don't know if this was the best match of my career, but what I do know is that this is the most important, because I am here today with a gold medal," Peralta said. "I dreamed about this moment. It is one of those things you don't get to live every day."
The surprising result left Mexico celebrating their first Olympic gold in men's football - and Brazil wondering if they will ever add the elusive title to their long list of triumphs in football.
"Yet again we came close, but didn't quite get it," Brazil coach Mano Menezes said.
Peralta took advantage of a mistake by the Brazilian defence in the opening minute and slotted a low right-foot shot just inside the near post. It was the fastest Olympic goal since FIFA began keeping record of the competition in 1976.
The striker added the second with a firm header from a free kick in the 75th.
Hulk scored for Brazil in injury time, but Oscar missed a header in the final seconds to waste the last chance for a comeback.
"This is a great emotion for all our country, Mexico will be celebrating on the streets," coach Luis Fernando Tena said. "It is a great honour for a coach to see his players singing the national anthem with gold medals around their necks. It's a very important moment for Mexican football. It's a great moment for us."
The Olympic gold is the only significant trophy that Brazil, five-time world champions, have not won in football. The Brazilians established the London Games as the team's priority this year and arrived as the heavy favourites after bringing most of their top players for the competition. Many will also be in the team for the next World Cup, which will be played in Brazil.
"We're very sorry yet again not to get gold," Menezes said. "Defeat is part of the maturing process. This group will continue on this path and get ready for 2014."
Fans threw straw sombreros in the air and waved Mexican flags at the final whistle. Peralta got hold of one of the wide-brim hats and passed it around among his teammates.
As Mexican players jumped up and down at midfield in celebration, the Brazilians dropped to the ground in despair. Neymar, touted as the future of Brazilian football, was one of them, sitting stoned-faced. Real Madrid left back Marcelo dropped his head and cried as his teammates came to try to console him.
"We are all sad, we know it was probably our only chance to win a gold medal," Neymar said. "Four years from now most of us likely won't be here again so this was our last Olympics. It was our last chance to win the gold."