Win over Japan serves as benchmark 

August, 7, 2012

At the sound of the final whistle, once history had been assured, Mexican manager Luis Fernando Tena dropped to his knees on the sideline and prayed. He had been overtaken by the moment. Arguably, the biggest victory in Mexican soccer history had just been secured with El Tri's 3-1 win against Japan in the Olympic semifinals.

While those in Europe may scoff at the importance of the Olympic soccer tournament, there is merit to this tournament for a country hoping to climb out of international irrelevance. Mexico aims to be a world power and an Olympic medal is a start toward that goal.

As Mexico continues to build through its youth system, Tuesday's win serves as a benchmark, yet another accomplishment to change the attitude and perceptions of a country once thought to lack the mettle for greatness.