When and where: The men's soccer final of the London Olympics kicks off from Wembley Stadium at 10 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network, with a live stream available on NBCOlympics.com.
Preview: Soccer and the Olympics have not always been the happiest of bedfellows as the world's most popular sport has struggled to find its identity in the quadrennial celebration of athletic competition. But while some fans struggle to get excited about the Olympics when there are world and continental championships to play for, for supporters, officials and players associated with Brazil there is no doubt that Saturday's final against Mexico is a match of huge significance.
After five World Cups and seven Copa Americas, the country that gave the world the beautiful game is desperate to take home the one international honor to elude them -- an Olympic gold.
That failure is a bizarre anomaly given some of the great players that have graced the fields of the Olympics for the Selecao: Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho to name just a few. For the current set of Brazilians looking to correct that record, there is plenty of pressure from an always demanding home public.
"We know that so many great Brazilian players have tried to win this gold and failed," said current star Neymar, according to the Press Association. "We know how difficult it is to win it, because otherwise all these great players would have won it already.
"We are here representing all generations of players who tried and were not able to win this tournament before."
For coach Mano Menezes, winning a first Olympic gold is merely one half of the massive weight of expectation on his shoulders. With players such as Neymar, Oscar, Leandro Damiao and Thiago Silva, his side closely resembles the one expected to contest the World Cup on home soil in two years' time. As it will be in 2014, on Saturday second will be deemed as nowhere.
Having scored three goals in each of their five games to reach the final, Menezes is at the very least restoring Brazil's relationship with the beautiful side of soccer after a sad shift toward physical durability that reached a nadir under Dunga's reign at the last World Cup.
Mexico will be worthy adversaries, though, as they attempt to prevent Brazil fulfilling their destiny at the home of football and in the city where the first official Olympic soccer tournament was contested back in 1908.
After a slow start El Tri has looked increasingly impressive in reaching their first-ever gold medal match. Japan provided a real test in their semifinal as they took a one-goal lead, but Mexico responded admirably and by the end had overwhelmed their technically gifted opponents 3-1.
Their place in the final is a further illustration that the future of Mexican soccer is looking very promising. The country won the Under-17 World Cup as hosts last year and earlier this summer won the prestigious Toulon Tournament for the first time.
"These young Mexican players have a different mindset," said coach Luis Fernando Tena. "We won the U-17 World Cup, came third in the U-20 World Cup, and here we are in the final.
"You can see from the U-17's up that the mentality has changed," he added. "These kids want to play abroad, they don't have any hang-ups and they want to get better."
Mexico have received a massive blow in their preparations, however, with talisman Giovani dos Santos ruled out of the final after suffering a hamstring injury against Japan.
Prediction: Brazil start as understandable favorites, but the final is unlikely to be a mere coronation. Mexico performed well without Dos Santos in the second-half against Japan and the loss of the team's star may again unite the rest of the squad. El Tri should get opportunities too against a Brazilian back line featuring uncertainty at center-back and in goal that means it is far from water tight.
Yet, the Selecao did look more solid overall with the inclusion of Alex Sandro ahead of Hulk against South Korea in the semifinals and Menezes should select the same side for the final. With Mexico's defense also arguably the weakest area of their side, the danger men of Neymar, Oscar and Leandro Damiao should have enough to get that long-sought gold medal.
Brazil 2-1 Mexico