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The semi-final clash between Mexico and Brazil failed to live up to its expectations. Brazil were looking to repeat their glory while Mexico was ready to upset the favourites. The game was level after ninety minutes. Two of the highest-scoring teams of the competition failed to find the net in normal time. Even after 120 minutes of football, there was not a single goal and the game had to be decided via a penalty shootout.



The game ended in favour of Brazil. Brazil 0 (4) – (1) 0 Mexico.



The opening minutes of the semi-final clash between Mexico and Brazil were witness to some exciting attacking football. A free-flowing game emphasised an attack with surges of pressure at both penalty areas. Brazil had more quality of the two and their dominance over the ball exemplified their talent. If not for a capable 36-year-old Mexican captain between the sticks, Brazil could have been at least a goal up by the 25th-minute mark.

A penalty decision midway through the first half seemed like the first prominent game-changing moment of the game. However, upon a VAR check, the decision was overturned by the on-field referee.



Brazil was still persistent and kept attacking the 18-yard-box at every opportunity they got. The movement by the Selecao to open up space and unsettle the Mexican defence was commendable. However, the youngsters lacked the cutting edge and were never able to produce the final ball.

Mexico, although didn’t produce many chances, looked threatening when they pushed up-field. The Mexicans were resilient and didn’t offer the men in yellow and blue any space behind the defence to exploit.



The final minutes of the first half favoured Mexico. They started to open up the Brazilian defence and forced a couple of good saves Santos in goal. An injury-time corner should have resulted in the opening goal but it was not to be. Henry Martin missed a golden opportunity as he headed the ball wide of the far corner from a cross whipped in by Alexis Vega.



The second half was much more even than the first. Mexico remained the well-organised side they are while also pushing up forward more often. At times the Mexicans threw numbers forward to suffocate the Brazilian midfield. When unsuccessful they were quick to fall back in order to defend the goal.



Brazil once again failed to deliver the final ball going forward and was often frustrated by Mexico’s resilience. The boiling emotions near the end of the second half showcased the feelings of the players. The lack of experience on the field was evident as they failed to remain calm as the match progressed.

The game dragged on without a goal. In the 81st minute, Richarlison, the tournament top scorer came close to finding the winning goal. However, his leaping header bounced off the inside of the woodwork. An unfortunate outcome after an excellent move by Brazil.



Selecao were determined to score the winning goal without needing to go to extra time. They came close several times in the final minutes of the game but were denied by Ochoa every time. The lack of a perfect finish haunted Brazil’s chances of the winning goal.



The game that promised goals did not deliver. The finishing was below par and therefore the game dragged onto extra time. The players grew tired as the game progressed and there seemed to be no belief of a winning goal. A penalty shootout seemed inevitable.



Dani Alves, the most decorated footballer in world football took on the first penalty and did not fail. Santos followed up with a brilliant save to give Brazil the advantage. Only Mexico’s Rodriguez managed to score the penalty while all of Brazil’s penalty takers slotted in to send Brazil through to the finals.



Brazil had won a medal in each of the previous three Olympic tournaments in Men’s football. Their gold medal at home in 2016 is the latest. The Selecao came into the tie determined to go on and win gold once again. Mexico is just another hurdle in their path to success.



Unlike other major competitions, the Olympic men’s football tournament doesn’t give much leeway to the teams. Due to the U23 rule being imposed, teams are seldom able to field the same set of players from the last tournament.

Hence due to the lack of experience within the squad, it is extremely hard to defend the gold. However, Brazil have been repeating their form for a long while now. It goes to show the talent on offer from the five-time World Champions.

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