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Mexico thumps Japan to reach first men's soccer final

London, England (Sports Network) - Mexico will have the opportunity to play for its first Olympic medal in men's soccer as it cruised to a 3-1 victory over Japan at Wembley on Tuesday.

The Mexicans have never earned a medal in men's soccer with their best finish coming in the 1986 Olympics, finishing fourth by losing 2-0 to Japan in the bronze medal game.

Japan even took the lead at Wembley on Tuesday thanks to Yuki Otsu's early strike, his third goal of the tournament.

But Mexico battled back as Marco Fabian leveled the score before the close of the first half while second-half goals from Oribe Peralta and Javier Cortes saw the South American nation steal the win.

Mexico will face Brazil in the final, slated for Saturday at Wembley, while Japan will take on South Korea at the Millennium Stadium on Friday for a shot at the bronze.

It took Japan just 11 minutes to get off the mark as a well-worked move down the left flank resulted in Otsu collecting possession at the top of the penalty area. The Japanese striker's brilliant first touch set up a shot from outside the box, and he uncorked a laser that left Jose Corona no chance for a save.

Mexico nearly broke through in the 28th minute when a loose ball in the box fell to the feet of Gionvani Dos Santos, but the Tottenham youngster fired a one-time shot just wide of the post.

The writing was on the wall though, as Japan's staunch defense, which had not conceded a goal through four games in the tournament, was cracked open three minutes later.

A corner kick played to the near post was flicked on by Jorge Enriquez and Fabian latched on, glancing his header into the back of the net from close range.

Both sides continued to push for a winner, but it was Mexico that eventually found one after capitalizing on a giveaway by the Japanese defense.

Shuichi Gonda distributed the ball with a roll up the middle of the park, but Peralta stripped the Japanese defender and immediately fired a wonder-strike into the upper corner.

That moment of brilliance held up as the difference, but Cortes added insult to injury for the Japanese, making a penetrating run into the box and hammering a shot underneath Gonda to power Mexico into the final.

08/07 16:55:45 ET


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