With his performance in the men’s soccer final at the 2012 Olympic Games, Oribe Peralta will undoubtedly receive a hero’s welcome when he returns to Mexico.
Following his impressive play in the semifinal match against Japan, the 28-year-old Mexican footballer had what could be called the game of his life. Peralta scored a mere 29 seconds into the final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday and added another goal in the second half in Mexico’s upset win over Brazil 2-1 at the London Games.
With the win, Mexico claims its first-ever Olympic gold medal in men’s soccer since the country started competing in the sport at the Olympics in 1928. Mexico’s previous best performance was at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, when the team came in fourth place after losing the bronze medal game to Japan.
Peralta gave Mexico the early lead after Brazil’s Rafael tried to make a backward pass. Mexico midfielder Javier Aquino intercepted the ball, sending it forward to Peralta just outside the area. With no defenders near him, he calmly sent his shot into the left corner.
Peralta’s score was the fastest Olympic goal since the 1976 Olympics Games in Montreal, when football’s governing body began keeping records of the competition, according to FIFA.
Peralta’s second goal came off a firm header from near the penalty spot after a free kick cross by Marco Fabian.
“I don’t know if this was the best match of my career, but what I do know is that this is the most important because I am here today with a gold medal,” Peralta said. “I dreamed about this moment. It is one of those things you don’t get to live every day.”
The shocked Brazilian team appeared to be shaken by the early goal and struggled to create scoring opportunities throughout the game. Hulk scored the team’s only goal with a low shot from inside the area in the first minute of injury time.
Brazil had been trying to win its first Olympic gold—the only significant trophy the five-time World Cup champions haven’t won in soccer.
It was the team’s first Olympic final in men’s football since the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, when the team had to settle for silver. Brazil also lost the final four years earlier at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.