Switzerland's Pajtim Kasami (2nd L) is challenged by Mexico's Carlos Salcido (C) and goalkeeper Jose Corona as he jumps to head the ball during their men's first round Group B football match in the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff August 1, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Francois Lenoir )
Brazil's Rafael Cabral waves after winning against South Korea in their men's semi-final soccer match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Old Trafford in Manchester, August 7, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Andrea Comas)
When Mexico and Brazil step on the field Saturday for the Gold Medal match, both squads will be battling for their first ever chance at Gold. For coming days, we will take a look at each squad in every area of the field to see which squad holds the edge.
Both teams are set to square off on Saturday August 11 at 10 AM ETD.
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Goalkeeping will be the topic of choice today as both Mexico and Brazil house different circumstances in their nets.
Brazil's 19 year old keeper was not supposed to be the number one guy prior to the tournament. That honor was to be bestowed upon Rafael, who suffered a pre-tournament injury that left him indisposed. As a result, the Samba Kings had to make do with the relatively inexperienced Gabriel who has been madly inconsistent throughout the tournament.
Gabriel has showcased aggressive play which has aided the potent Brazilian offense in running up the field and pressuring opposing defenses. The problem is that his aggressive offensive mobility of the ball has not been matched by equally strong defending of the net as there have been a few suspect goals allowed by the Brazilian keeper.
In their most recent match against Korea, Gabriel came out too far to challenge Kim Hyunsung who caught the keeper out of position and put the ball past him. Defender Juan Jesus made up for his keeper's failings with a tremendous save to preserve a 0-0 draw.
During the group stage, Gabriel had allowed three goals, though it would be unfair to call them all his fault. However, the two goals against Honduras were stoppable. The Mario Martinez volley was an immensely impressive finish of an incredible play, but Gabriel cheated to close to the ball and left it to easy for the ball to loop over him. The same goes for the Roger Espinoza goal in which he left himself too close to the right side and exposed his far side. He settled into that game with a few big saves, but still leaves himself susceptible in the air.
He will need to step up against the most potent offense that Brazil will face.
Mexico: Jose Corona
The captain has been tremendous for Mexico throughout the tournament. He is the anti-thesis of Gabriel in everyway. Mexico's keeper is a tested 31-year old veteran who has Olympic experience and was the number one man entering the tournament. Corona has not had much international success, but is currently battling to try and be the number one man in the 2014 World Cup. He has done everything he can to prove himself capable during this tournament as he has only allowed three goals in these Olympics games.
Two of those goals came against an ardent Senegal team who scored both of their goals in the air off headers. The lone goal against Japan was volley that Corona barely had a chance on.
Unlike Gabriel, Corona has not had a ton of work to do thanks to tight Mexican defense.
Edge: Mexico. Gold Medal Jitters will need to be conquered on both ends. The man with more experience will win out in that department. Corona's mechanics and ability to see and play the ball have also been better than Gabriel's often spotty keeping.
Read about which team has the better arsenal of strikers HERE.
Read Why Mexico Will Win HERE.
Read Why Brazil Wiil WIn HERE.