Mexican national soccer team keeps hope for a future in the Olympics

Credit: Pascal Müller (@millerthachiller)

Taking advantage of the situation that this Olympic year represents, it is an ideal time to discuss the historical performances of the Mexican women’s squad at the Olympics. Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was forced to change its start date and will now be held in Japan’s capital from Jul. 23 thru Aug. 8.

Mexico was unable to qualify for it. Since the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, they have only been able to qualify for a single iteration of the tournament.

There have been six editions of the women’s soccer competition at the Olympics with FIFA recognition. The United States have lifted the cup in four of them, followed by Norway and Germany with one title each. The Rio 2016 Olympics ended the United States’ winning streak with the triumph of Germany in Brazil against Sweden.

In the 2004 edition held in Athens, Mexico qualified after losing the CONCACAF Pre-Olympic final 3-2 against the United States. The team was drawn into Group F with China and Germany. They played to a 1-1 draw with China and that goal made Maribel Domínguez the only scorer for the Mexican national team in the history of the Olympic Games. In the aftermath of that match, they would go on to lose 2-0 against Germany and astoundingly with only that single point the squad made it to the quarter finals.

The dream ended with Brazil beating El Tri by a score of 5-0. Despite the result, this remains the best result of Mexico in FIFA Women’s World Cups and Olympic Games. The men´s squad, on the other hand, has already won the gold medal at the Olympics — it was Oribe Peralta with his two goals for Mexico over Brazil in the London 2012 Olympics that clinched the Mexican victory in the final.

Much of Mexico’s bad Olympic track record can be attributed to the manner in which places were taken in the early editions of the tournament. They were previously decided by the results of the national squads in the preceding Women’s World Cups. This was a major turning point for the competition – CONCACAF took the opportunity to establish the Pre-Olympic Tournament for Athens 2004. The tournament would be contested between the six teams that played against each other and gave the finalists the two spots that the Confederation had for the Olympic Games.

The last and only participation of Mexico at the Olympic women’s soccer tournament was that 2004 edition. In 2008, 2012, and 2020 they failed to qualify by finishing in third place, in that Pre-Olympic Tournament, painstakingly close to achieving their objective.

The hope is still there for Mexico, even though the results haven’t been what they may have expected. Since the U-17 Mexican national team finished as runner’s up at the U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Uruguay 2018, there is plenty of positivity in anticipation of what they may develop into in the near future. Though they lost that match 2-1 against Spain, the process is trending in the right direction that will no doubt help them achieve good results for Mexico in the coming years.

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