Mexico boss Luis Fernando Tena hailed his country’s players as ‘conquistadors’ after stunning Brazil to win Olympic gold.
Oribe Peralta fired the Central Americans to arguably the greatest victory in their history as they were crowned London 2012 champions with a 2-1 win at Wembley.
Mexico completely belied their reputation as one of the most notorious also-rans in world football, deservedly beating the five-time World Cup winners in what was their first major global final.
“This is a fair reward for my 18 warriors,” a jubilant Tena said.
“This is a great emotion for all our country. Mexico will be celebrating on the streets, and also Mexicans living in the USA will be proud to be Mexicans.
“It’s a very important moment for Mexican football. It’s a great moment for us.
“Our youngsters have developed great mental strength and our football is improving considerably.
“We have better players, more experienced players, a better selection of young players. Our coaches are better trained and paid, which is important.
“Our youngsters look towards the future more optimistically – they have left behind the old complexes.
“They look towards the future like conquistadors.”
Mexico’s players were equally ecstatic.
Peralta said: “I don’t know if this was the best match of my career, but what I do know is that this is the most important because I am here today with a gold medal.
“I dreamed about this moment. It is one of those things you don’t get to live every day.”
Midfielder Marco Fabian said: “We just entered the history books of Mexican sport.
“We have given our people an immense joy. This is unforgettable.”
Defender Diego Reyes said: “It’s true the world think of Brazil as a football superpower, but we knew we could beat them.
“I think Mexico is being recognised more and more as a great football nation in the world.
“We played against famous players but we knew we could win. The Mexican mentality is changing and we feel we can win.”
Tottenham midfielder Giovani Dos Santos, who missed the final through injury said: “This gold medal goes to all of those in Mexico who always believed in us. I want them to enjoy and to celebrate.
“For those who didn’t believe in us? Well, let them celebrate too.”
The contrast in the Brazil camp could not have been greater, after they once again blew the chance to win a first Olympic title.
Admitting Mexico deserved to win, a clearly saddened Brazil head coach Mano Menezes said: “You can see by the look on my face what my feelings are.
“We did excellent work throughout the tournament and we believed until the final match that we had a very good fighting chance of getting gold.
“When you lose, you feel under dark skies. That was the atmosphere I left in the dressing room right now.”
Menezes claimed another Olympic failure was proof something was not right with Brazil’s under-23 structure but insisted it would not have an impact on the senior team ahead of the 2014 World Cup, which the country hosts.
Whether Menezes will be in charge for the tournament may now be open to question, and he said: “Any coach must be ready to suffer the consequences of results.”