How El Tri can beat Japan in semis 

August, 6, 2012

Mexican national team director Hector Gonzalez-Inarritu was mocked and chided for boldly proclaiming several months ago that El Tri would win a medal at the Olympics. Mexico is now achingly close to realizing that goal. With a win on Tuesday against Japan in the tournament semifinals, Mexico would guarantee its first Olympic medal in its rich soccer history.

Even a loss wouldn't eliminate the team from medal contention. Instead it would simply send it to the bronze-medal game. The task for Mexico is simple: Win one of its next two games and make history.

Although a possible final match against Brazil is tantalizing to think about, Mexico must first defeat a red-hot Japan team.

Here are five questions heading into the semifinal:

How much can we take away from the Mexico vs. Japan friendly on July 21?

Not a ton. In the 2-1 loss to Japan, Mexico didn't start Giovani Dos Santos, had an out-of-form Oribe Peralta and committed several defensive miscues that El Tri eliminated once the tournament began. Both teams are in vastly different form than they were two weeks ago.

While both teams are now very familiar with one another, the friendly result doesn't really give an advantage to either team.