El Tri executes strategy in agonizing win 

August, 4, 2012

It wasn't the least bit comfortable for Mexico or its fans, but the game plan worked just as expected on Saturday, as El Tri advanced to the Olympic Games semifinal with an agonizing extra-time win over Senegal. The West Africans' athleticism and pace were frightening at times in driving Luis Tena's side to overtime, but in the end Mexico's skill and tactical order won the day.

It was a game of initiative for El Tri -- in both positive and negative senses. When Mexico pushed, it was by far the superior side, and that difference was ultimately borne out on the scoreboard. But when Mexico gave up the ball to Senegal, things were far less smooth, and those lulls nearly cost El Tri their ticket to the semifinals.

The day started much as expected, with Senegal's speed causing some problems at the back. Also predictable was Senegal's tendency to commit poor fouls in dangerous areas, and just 10 minutes in, Mexico took advantage when a precise Gio Dos Santos set piece found Jorge Enriquez's head and the young central defender adroitly nodded it home from an angle.

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for ESPN.com. Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.