Despite a slow start to these 2012 Olympic finals, Mexico beat Switzerland in their third and final Group B game to finish top of the section in Cardiff. The Mexicans were dominated in the opening exchanges, but Giovani Dos Santos and Oribe Peralta combined brilliantly midway through the second half to secure a 1-0 win, a result that sees the promising Swiss eliminated.
Switzerland started with speed and precision, controlling the pace of the game in the opening exchanges. Innocent Emeghara was a constant thorn in the side of the Mexican defence and, by contrast, Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio had precious little to do at the other end in the opening 45 minutes.
Amir Abrashi burst into the Mexican rearguard as early as the 7th minute, but his shot flew wide by a healthy margin. Admir Mehmedi was left all alone ten minutes later, pouncing on a deflection from Emeghara, but after being challenged by goalkeeper Jose Corona, he could only slam his off-balance shot against the crossbar.
Giovani Dos Santos, on from the start for the first time at the London Olympic Games, had Mexico’s first chance two minutes from the interval. After picking up a pass from Darvin Chavez, his firm shot was well saved by Benaglio. The striker then had another chance, in stoppage time of the first half, but the free-kick sizzled just past the top corner.
Mexico came out from the locker-room at halftime pushing forward into attack early and often. Oribe Peralta fired in a pair of shots in the first five minutes of the period. Benaglio was equal to the task on both occasions, however.
After another chance from Jorge Enriquez, the Mexicans drew first blood in the 69th minute. Dos Santos drew the defence toward him with some elegant approach work. The ball eventually fell to Peralta, and the Santos Laguna striker made no mistake, hammering home between Benaglio’s long legs.
The Swiss seemed stunned in the closing stages and as they pressed forward, the Mexicans had a number of chances to increase the lead. In the end, the 1-0 result was enough to see the North Americans through the quarter-finals as section winners, while the Swiss head for home wondering what might have been.