Olympics: Soccer

South Korean soccer player barred from medal ceremony

Park Jong-woo, shown scoring against Britain during the quarterfinals, was barred from Saturday’s medal ceremony. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The IOC told South Korea to ban midfielder Park Jong-woo from Saturday’s medal ceremony after he displayed a sign with a political message during Friday’s bronze medal soccer match against Japan.

According to the Associated Press, Park is

being investigated by the IOC and FIFA for carrying the sign with a slogan supporting South Korean sovereignty of islets which are disputed territory with Japan.

“We have also requested that the (South Korea Olympic Committee) takes swift action on this issue and that the athlete not be present at today’s medal presentation ceremony,” the IOC said in a statement. “We have opened an inquiry and have asked the (South Korea Olympic Committee) for an explanation.”

Medals were presented at Wembley Stadium in London following Mexico’s 2-1 win over Brazil in the gold-medal match. Only 17 of the 18 players were on the field for South Korea during the bronze presentations, and Park was not among them.

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Brazil scores late, but Mexico wins soccer gold

Oribe Peralta and Mexico can celebrate the country’s first Olympic soccer gold medal. (Michael Regan — Getty Images)

Brazil’s Hulk streaked down the field in the first minute of stoppage time and scored his team’s first goal of its Olympic title game against Mexico, but it wasn’t enough as Mexico earned a 2-1 victory and the men’s soccer gold medal, the country’s first.

Brazil, perhaps the world’s preeminent soccer power, still has never won a gold medal in men’s soccer.

Oribe Peralta scored two goals to lead Mexico. His first came just 28 seconds into the game, the earliest score ever in an Olympic final. While Brazil struggled to find the net, Peralta struck again, scoring on a header in the 75th minute.

Brazil had a chance to tie the score after Hulk’s goal, but a desperate header flew above the crossbar in the final minute.

Mexico adds to lead in soccer final

Oribe Peralta, doing work for Mexico. (Michael Regan — Getty Images)

In the 75th minute of the Olympic men’s soccer final, Oribe Peralta scored his second goal of the game on a sharp header, giving Mexico a 2-0 lead over Brazil.

Time is running out for the talented Brazilian men’s soccer team, and it’s showing few signs of mounting a comeback. In the second half, Mexico had at least a couple of opportunities to add to that lead.

In the 63rd minute, Mexico stole the ball and charged toward the goal, but Marco Fabian’s beautifully executed bicycle kick bounced high off the crossbar. Five minutes later, Mexico missed another scoring opportunity when Peralta’s apparent goal was called off because of an offsides call.

Mexico leads Brazil at halftime of soccer final

Mexico goalkeeper Jose Corona jumps for the ball. (Daniel Garcia — AFP/Getty Images)

Heavily favored to win the Olympic tournament, the Brazilian men’s soccer team has struggled to find a rhythm in the first half against Mexico at Wembley Stadium.

The game’s lone goal came from Mexico’s Oribe Peralta in the first 30 seconds. It was the lone shot on goal in the opening half for Mexico, but it gave the Mexican team momentum throughout.

Hampered by sloppy passing, Brazil struggled to mount many serious threats on the goal. The Brazilians were credited with eight shots, including three shots on goal, but they’ll enter the second half facing a deficit.

Mexico takes early soccer lead over Brazil

Oribe Peralta (No. 9) and Mexico celebrate his ultra-quick goal against Brazil. (Michael Regan — Getty Images)

It took less than 30 seconds in the Olympic men’s soccer goal medal match for Brazil to make a costly mistake and for Mexico to pounce.

Mexico stole Brazil’s badly played cross-field pass and Oribe Peralta was able to pounce, charging toward the goal and scoring easily. Only 28 seconds had passed, making it one of the quickest scores ever in an Olympic final.

Brazil meets Mexico for men’s soccer gold

Brazil’s soccer team has captured just about every tournament, honor and trophy on the planet — except for an Olympic title. Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium, the Brazilians will try to rectify that. They’ll face Mexico, which is also trying for its first Olympic gold.

Mexico topped Brazil, 2-0, when the teams last met in a June friendly staged in Dallas, but Brazil entered this tournament as a heavy favorite.

Brazil is led by Neymar, a 20-year-old sensation who’s considered the future of Brazilian soccer. He has three goals in tournament play. His teammate, Leandro Damiao, leads all Olympic players with six goals.

South Korea beats Japan, 2-0, for bronze in men’s soccer

South Korean players celebrate winning the bronze medal in men’s soccer. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Park Chu-young and Koo Ja-cheol scored as South Korea beat Japan, 2-0, in Cardiff to claim the bronze medal in men’s soccer — the first medal for the Koreans in Olympic soccer competition. It was also the first men’s soccer medal by an Asian team since Japan won the bronze medal in Mexico City in 1968.

Brazil and Mexico meet in the gold medal final on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.

U.S. women’s soccer holds off Japan for gold

Carli Lloyd scored twice, helping the U.S. women’s soccer team to the gold medal. (Andrew Medichini — Associated Press)

The U.S. women’s soccer team made two goals from midfielder Carli Lloyd hold up against persistent Japan, earning a 2-1 victory in the gold medal match of the Olympic tournament Thursday night at Wembley Stadium.

A sold-out crowd of 80,203 watched as the Americans withstood extreme pressure from the Japanese over the final 60 minutes of the match. After U.S. defender Christie Rampone committed a turnover, American goalkeeper Hope Solo made a diving save on Japanese forward Mana Iwabuchi in the 83rd minute, thwarting the last of Japan’s long list of excellent scoring opportunities.

The Americans have now won four of the five gold medals since women’s soccer was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1996 — a silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics the only exception.

But this gold is especially sweet for this American squad, which has stewed about a loss on penalty kicks to Japan in the 2011 Women’s World Cup final.

Lloyd was exceptional, scoring once in each half to lift the Americans to a 2-0 lead. Japan scored in the 63rd minute, but couldn’t break through again.

Japan cuts U.S. soccer lead in half

Yuki Ogimi scored in the second half to cut the United States’ lead to 2-1. (Lefteris Pitarakis — Associated Press)

Japanese forward Yuki Ogimi scored from in close in the 63rd minute, cutting the U.S. lead in the women’s gold medal soccer match to 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.

Ogimi was basically standing at the goal mouth to clean up a mess. Japanese midfielder Homare Sawa — the MVP of last year’s Women’s World Cup — fired a ball that got past U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, but was temporarily touched away by U.S. defender Christie Rampone.

But Ogimi stood on the left side, near the post, and tapped home the rebound for Japan’s first answer. The goal got the loud Japanese portion of the crowd at Wembley, which is packed, back into the game.