11 August 2012 14:10
Mexico manager Luis Fernando Tena says his team are capable upstaging favourites Brazil in the men’s football Olympic final on Saturday.
Brazil are red-hot favourites to end their gold medal drought at the London Games after booking their spot in the final for the first time since 1988.
Tena’s side beat Japan 3-1 in the semi-final on August 7 to advance to the final game of the competition and he believes a shock could be on the cards at Wembley Stadium.
“We are happy knowing that at least we’ll get the silver medal, but at the same time we are ambitious so we’ll try to close these games in the best fashion,” the 54-year-old said.
“We can play well against Brazil even though they are favourites. Even before the Games started, they already were alongside Spain and Team GB (as favourites) but mainly, it was Brazil.
“Yesterday I read about the odds for this game in Las Vegas and apparently they’re favourites by far but still, we believe in ourselves and I think we can surprise Brazil.
Tena also spoke about Giovani dos Santos’ injury, saying Mexico would miss the Tottenham attacking midfielder but hoped they could compensate for his loss.
“Unfortunately Giovani dos Santos, who’s a great player and was showing great character in the training sessions and games in order to overcome his injury, won’t be pickable in the end,” he said.
“It’s a pity for him and sensitive for the team but we have shown that we are strong enough mentally. We can overcome these adversities and we know that we have a good enough team and alternatives.
“As I just said, it’s a shame he’s injured because obviously we wanted him to play this final. But our team his strong and we trust in ourselves.”
Meanwhile, head coach Mano Menezes is adamant his Brazil squad will not underestimate their opponents.
Brazil have claimed victory in all five matches en route to the final, scoring a total of 15 goals in the process but the former Corinthians manager insists the players are focused on the task at hand.
“The players are very calm, not over-euphoric about being in the final,” he said.
“But our team should be congratulated, they have come a long way since May when they were nowhere and now they are in an Olympic final.
“It has been 24 years since Brazil have been in the final, which shows how difficult it is to get there.”