Why Mexico can medal at the Olympics
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Even before Mexico had qualified for the Olympics, before group play had even begun in fact, El Tri national team president Hector Gonzalez-Inarritu boldly said he wanted his team to medal in London.
Many took Gonzalez's statement as more arrogant than ambitious, the words appearing as an untimely pronouncement from a nation that was living on uncharacteristically good times in the footballing world.
But Gonzalez isn't retreating from his statement, even after he was criticized for being overzealous.
"I can't sit here and be mediocre and say that we want to go to London to get experience or just to see how it goes," Gonzalez-Inarritu told reporters on Sunday. "The objective is to be a medalist, to be on that podium. It's not a promise, it's not an obligation, it's an objective. The time has come for us to set high goals."
Gonzalez has reason to be so optimistic, especially in light of Mexico's triumphant run through the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, which El Tri won in dramatic fashion with a late goal in the second period of extra time for a 2-1 triumph against Honduras on Monday night.
As has been mentioned several times here and in other places, El Tri lives in a rare time in national team soccer history. This is a federation pumped up by the afterglow of success at every level, from the youngest of Mexican teams, to the senior team.
Setting their sights so high for the Olympics may seem like overreaching, but there are reasons to believe that Mexico can medal.