Mexico Vs. South Korea, 2012 Olympics: Can El Tri Live Up To The Hype?

HYERES, FRANCE - JUNE 01: Candido Ramirez of Mexico is congratulated on his goal during the Toulon Tournament Final between Mexico and Turkey at Stade Perruc on June 1, 2012 in Hyeres, France. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Mexico will have to step up their game if they are to make good on their Olympic potential.

There was a lot of excitement around the Mexico team when it was being put together at the beginning of the summer. With a slew of talent and an entire summer to prepare, this Mexico team was supposed to have an outside chance at making a run at a gold medal and for much of the summer it looked like they might be able to do that, but not so much lately.

Consecutive losses heading into the Olympics have El Tri looking vulnerable. Maybe they aren't going to make a deep run in the tournament after all?

Giovani dos Santos was supposed to be the star of the team, only he hasn't found a place or a role and looks like a good bet to sit in their Olympic opener against South Korea on Thursday. That means that Marco Fabian will likely play underneath a striker, Oribe Peralta, and serve as the team's playmaker, which isn't exactly a bad backup plan. The Chivas player starred at the Toulon Tournament where he scored seven goals to give him 14 since he started playing with the U-23's at the Olympic qualifying tournament in March.

But the real problem for Mexico could be at the back. Park Chu-Young is in the South Korea team as an overage player and with 25 goals to his name with the senior team, he can certainly give the Mexican defense fits. So can Kim Bo-Kyung, who will be a threat running from the midfield and challenge the El Tri central defense partnership of Hiram Mier and Diego Reyes.

Mexico have the goods to make a run in the Olympics. That was the case at the beginning of the summer and remains the case today, but they have to get things together and that begins against the Koreans because they are out of time to sort things out.

Game Date/Time: Thursday, 9:30 a.m. ET

Venue: St. James' Park, Newcastle, England

TV: NBC Sports Network (U.S.)


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