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Gold medals, gold standards: Soccer brings role reversal for Mexico and Brazil

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Andrew Medichini/AP

(Read caption) Mexican soccer players celebrate after winning the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.

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The Olympic glory of “El Tri,” reads the banner over Mexico's conservative daily Reforma online, a photo of Mexico's winning soccer team donning their newly earned gold medals. Further to the left, El Universal declares: “They made history!”

“We are made of gold,” splashes Milenio.

Soccer-crazed Mexico took home its first gold medal today, with the men's tricolor (named such for the colors of Mexico's red, white, and green flag) beating the storied Brazilian team in the Olympic finals.

Spontaneous celebrations were reported across the country, from downtown Mexico City to the streets of Guadalajara, with fans carrying flags and shouting victory songs in marches that shut down traffic.

Mexico beat Brazil 2-1, with two goals by player Oribe Peralta – one just seconds into the game, another in the second half – bringing a sense of badly desired success to this struggling country, and maybe signaling a reversal in fortunes for Mexico and its long-lauded southerly neighbor Brazil.

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Brazil has been Latin America's golden child for the past five years. It will host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later. Its economy has boomed. Investors have flocked to it. The celebratory headlines have not died down.

In the same period, Mexico has struggled amid slower economic growth and historic violence, which has made the country ground zero for hemispheric organized crime. Its death toll alone: over 50,000 in six years.

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