Despite going down 2-0 to Germany in Athens, Mexico did enough over their two games to secure a place in the last eight of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament in Athens. The Germans, comfortable winners of Group F, played well enough to secure top spot before conserving their energies for Friday's quarter-final clash with Nigeria. El Tri, for their part, can look forward to an all-Latin showdown with Brazil's Samba girls in their corresponding fixture. 
A small but passionate crowd at the Karaiskaki Stadium cheered on the Mexican girls as they fought bravely to contain their powerful European opponents.
It took just minutes for the German side to stamp their authority on the game and show just why they are hot favourites to go all the way in Athens. Using their superior strength, the Europeans laid siege to Jennifer Molina's goal and immediately began to carve out chances. Renate Lingor had a great opportunity to open the scoring, but fortunately for Mexico, she lifted her shot over the crossbar with only the keeper to beat (6').
Though their ability to keep possession earned them some respite, the Latin Americans looked vulnerable with every high ball. A badly cleared corner by Molina fell nicely to Isabelli Bachor, but her shot was blocked on the goal line by Mónica Vergara. In the ensuing scramble, Ariane Hingst managed to rifle in a thunderous effort that amazingly came back off the crossbar (11').  Germany's star player Birgit Prinz, after a quiet start, almost scored with her first touch. Unluckily for her, her well-placed header was cleared off the line by defender Alma Martínez (17').
Leonardo Cuellar's Mexican side were also outplayed in the middle of the park, and the pressure on the rearguard was beginning to tell. The inevitable breakthrough came midway through the first half. Kerstin Garefrekes won possession and then found Prinz, who broke free down the right.  The striker's picked out Lingor, whose right foot drive Molina could only parry. Petra Wimbersky, on hand in the six yard box, could not have asked for an easier opportunity as she headed in for a well deserved lead (1-0; 20').
 "Physically speaking, there was a big difference between the sides, but the telling factor was their experience and ability to handle the game's decisive exchanges. We're honoured to have shared a pitch with Germany," Leonardo Cuellar remarked afterwards.
Going a goal down seemed to stiffen the Mexicans' resolve as they made a concerted effort to compete in midfield and hold the ball. Their attempts were greatly appreciated by the vocal Latin supporters, who chanted "sí, se puede" (you can do it) to spur on their heroes. For all their efforts, the superior experience and efficiency of the Europeans meant they were rarely stretched in the first half. In goal, Slike Rottenberg had a quiet evening overall, but still had to be at her best to deny, first Maribel Domínguez from a free kick, and then Guadalupe Worbis with the follow up (39').
Germany ran out looking like a renewed side in the second half and could have extended their lead with a powerful strike from Navina Omilade.  Molina's wonderful save, however, averted the danger and drew an appreciative roar from the crowd (52'). Mexico, for their part, continued to pack their defence, only occasionally managing to release Maribel Domínguez on the break. One long-range effort from the forward almost levelled the tie, with only a spectacular diving save from Rottengerg denying the Mexican (55').
The early evening sun and the game's fast pace contrived to sap the players' energy as the half wore on and the stadium filled up. The respective coaches, Cuellar and Tina Theune-Meyer, wisely decided to use their permitted substitutes. Germany refused to cede control of the game though, and continued to carve out the best chances. Kerstin Stegemann, showed her fancy footwork down the right, but her low cross was deftly intercepted by Elizabeth Gómez, much to the frustration of the onrushing strikers (69').
There was to be one more goal before the end, and again, it would be conceded by the Mexicans. This time, a Stegeman cross from the right went over Molina and found Prinz unmarked. The World Player of the Year had the easiest of tap-ins for her fifth goal of the tournament (2-0; 79').
 "This is a very special day for women's football in Mexico. We came through a very difficult group and we've given a great boost to the profile of this beautiful sport in our country. Now, with the same humility that has taken us this far, we intend to give our all against Brazil and try for a medal," a delighted Cuellar told a post-match press conference.
The German coach, for her part, had this to say afterwards: "Mexico were a much tougher proposition than China. We started well but faded a bit towards the end. Now, we've got to get by Nigeria, a team that has shown themselves to be powerful, fast and skilled."
Mexico still smiling despite German defeat (2:0)
Despite going down 2-0 to Germany in Athens, Mexico did enough over their two games to secure a place in the last eight of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament in Athens. The Germans, comfortable winners of Group F, played well enough to secure top spot before conserving their energies for Friday's quarter-final clash with Nigeria. El Tri, for their part, can look forward to an all-Latin showdown with Brazil's Samba girls in their corresponding fixture. 
A small but passionate crowd at the Karaiskaki Stadium cheered on the Mexican girls as they fought bravely to contain their powerful European opponents.
It took just minutes for the German side to stamp their authority on the game and show just why they are hot favourites to go all the way in Athens. Using their superior strength, the Europeans laid siege to Jennifer Molina's goal and immediately began to carve out chances. Renate Lingor had a great opportunity to open the scoring, but fortunately for Mexico, she lifted her shot over the crossbar with only the keeper to beat (6').
Though their ability to keep possession earned them some respite, the Latin Americans looked vulnerable with every high ball. A badly cleared corner by Molina fell nicely to Isabelli Bachor, but her shot was blocked on the goal line by Mónica Vergara. In the ensuing scramble, Ariane Hingst managed to rifle in a thunderous effort that amazingly came back off the crossbar (11').  Germany's star player Birgit Prinz, after a quiet start, almost scored with her first touch. Unluckily for her, her well-placed header was cleared off the line by defender Alma Martínez (17').
Leonardo Cuellar's Mexican side were also outplayed in the middle of the park, and the pressure on the rearguard was beginning to tell. The inevitable breakthrough came midway through the first half. Kerstin Garefrekes won possession and then found Prinz, who broke free down the right.  The striker's picked out Lingor, whose right foot drive Molina could only parry. Petra Wimbersky, on hand in the six yard box, could not have asked for an easier opportunity as she headed in for a well deserved lead (1-0; 20').
 "Physically speaking, there was a big difference between the sides, but the telling factor was their experience and ability to handle the game's decisive exchanges. We're honoured to have shared a pitch with Germany," Leonardo Cuellar remarked afterwards.
Going a goal down seemed to stiffen the Mexicans' resolve as they made a concerted effort to compete in midfield and hold the ball. Their attempts were greatly appreciated by the vocal Latin supporters, who chanted "sí, se puede" (you can do it) to spur on their heroes. For all their efforts, the superior experience and efficiency of the Europeans meant they were rarely stretched in the first half. In goal, Slike Rottenberg had a quiet evening overall, but still had to be at her best to deny, first Maribel Domínguez from a free kick, and then Guadalupe Worbis with the follow up (39').
Germany ran out looking like a renewed side in the second half and could have extended their lead with a powerful strike from Navina Omilade.  Molina's wonderful save, however, averted the danger and drew an appreciative roar from the crowd (52'). Mexico, for their part, continued to pack their defence, only occasionally managing to release Maribel Domínguez on the break. One long-range effort from the forward almost levelled the tie, with only a spectacular diving save from Rottengerg denying the Mexican (55').
The early evening sun and the game's fast pace contrived to sap the players' energy as the half wore on and the stadium filled up. The respective coaches, Cuellar and Tina Theune-Meyer, wisely decided to use their permitted substitutes. Germany refused to cede control of the game though, and continued to carve out the best chances. Kerstin Stegemann, showed her fancy footwork down the right, but her low cross was deftly intercepted by Elizabeth Gómez, much to the frustration of the onrushing strikers (69').
There was to be one more goal before the end, and again, it would be conceded by the Mexicans. This time, a Stegeman cross from the right went over Molina and found Prinz unmarked. The World Player of the Year had the easiest of tap-ins for her fifth goal of the tournament (2-0; 79').
 "This is a very special day for women's football in Mexico. We came through a very difficult group and we've given a great boost to the profile of this beautiful sport in our country. Now, with the same humility that has taken us this far, we intend to give our all against Brazil and try for a medal," a delighted Cuellar told a post-match press conference.
The German coach, for her part, had this to say afterwards: "Mexico were a much tougher proposition than China. We started well but faded a bit towards the end. Now, we've got to get by Nigeria, a team that has shown themselves to be powerful, fast and skilled."