El Tri's top moments of 2012 

December, 27, 2012
12/27/12
2:28
PM ET

Naturally, with next year's schedule being as packed as it is for almost every incarnation of the Mexican national team, focus is deservedly on 2013. But before we turn the page and welcome quite possibly the most challenging and defining year in El Tri's history, it behooves us to remember one of the most sparkling periods since the team started play more than eight decades ago.

The book on 2012 will be written in gold-tinged letters, a lasting reminder that you need more than just a golden generation to produce consistent results. Hard work and commitment both on and off the pitch have come to put failures and disciplinary faults as distant memories and not lingering reminders of unfulfilled promise.

Mexico's performance at the London Olympics this summer is, by far, the crowning achievement of 2012. It is not, however, the only moment that made this a fantastic year for El Tri.

Here are the top moments for El Tri in 2012:

1. Pre-Olympic perfection

The under-23 squad's road to glory started in Carson and Kansas City. In late March, talk surrounding the CONCACAF pre-Olympic tournament was pessimistic, at best. El Tri had come into the tournament as heavy favorites four years ago, with a few players from the original U-17 World Cup champs filling in a roster with seasoned pros. With senior team boss Hugo Sanchez at the helm, Mexico crashed out in a blaze of comically tragic misses in front of goal.

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