LONDON: Mexico and Japan, winners of Groups B and D in the men’s Olympic football, have in their sights the possibility of football gold for the first time ever. The Japanese could even land a double if their women’s team win their own final.

The quarter-finals of the men’s event set up today’s  semi-final showdown at Wembley after Mexico needed extra time to beat Senegal while Japan secured a comfortable 3-0 win over 10-man Egypt. This is the first semi-final at the Olympic tournaments between a team from Asia and a representative from CONCACAF.

Japan are narrow favourites, having yet to concede a goal and they will also be fresher since Mexico’s last match with Senegal endured for 120 gruelling minutes.

Yet Mexico scored against Japan in a pre-tournament warm-up and also scored four at Wembley against Senegal.

These two sides contested the bronze medal match at the 1968 Olympic Football Tournament, which Japan won thanks to a brace by Kunishige Kamamoto and the Blue Samurai also ran out 2-1 winners in the recent meeting, but Mexico are more than capable of turning history around.

If he plays, Jose Corona will become the Mexico player with the most appearances at the Olympic Football Tournament. To date, he is tied on seven matches with Albino Morales who played in the 1964 and 1968 editions. Corona also played three matches at Athens 2004.

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