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Football at the Olympics

Football at Tokyo Olympics: Mexico stun France, Brazil edge past Germany

Published at :July 23, 2021 at 4:33 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Olympics)

Sudesh Baniya

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The men's tournament started with an extravagant set of fixtures.

Richarlison scripted history with a 23-minute hat-trick on the opening day of men's football at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Everton forward wrote his name into Olympics folklore with a wonderful treble for Brazil. Elsewhere, Mexico shocked a star-studded France with a 4-1 victory to begin their campaign in style.

European super-giants Spain dominated possession, but failed to create enough goalscoring chances. They were held to a goalless draw by Egypt, while hosts Japan escaped with a 1-0 victory over South Africa. Here are the major talking points from the opening day of men's football at Tokyo Olympics.

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Mexico stun star-studded France

Vega scored and assisted a goal each for Mexico against France (Courtesy: Olympics)

Alexis Vega inspired Mexico to a convincing 4-1 win over France to pull off the biggest upset of the opening day at Tokyo Olympics. Vega scored one and assisted another for Uriel Antuna, as Mexico went all-out after a goalless first half. Sebastian Cordova and Eduardo Aguirre were the other scorers for Mexico, while Andre-Pierre Gignac scored a consolation penalty for France.

Despite having experienced attackers like Florian Thauvin and Gignac in the lineup, Les Bleus looked rusty on the night. Mexico, on the other hand, looked solid in defence, with veteran shot-stopper Guillermo Ochoa commanding the goal. El Tricolor were more efficient and had more shots on target.

Takefusa Kubo shines as hosts begin with win

Tokyo Olympics
Takefusa Kubo scored the only goal to lead Japan to victory (Courtesy: Olympics)

Japan began their quest for gold at Tokyo Olympics with a 1-0 win against South Africa. Real Madrid's rising star Takefusa Kubo scored the decisive goal in the match. Playing as a No. 10 in a 4-2-3-1 setup, the 20-year-old looked crisp in his involvement in the final third. He was also instrumental in the build-up for Japan.

Kawasaki Antlers midfielder Ao Tanaka was another captivating performer for the hosts on the night. Tanaka boasted a 91% pass accuracy and also had 100% accuracy with his long balls (4). He acted as the primary link from Japan's defence, which allowed Kubo to adopt a relatively free role. South Africa, on the other hand, did not cause a lot of problems, except for a late chance.

Socceroos pull off convincing win against Argentina

Substitute Marco Tilio scored the second goal for Australia (Courtesy: Twitter)

Australia registered a 2-0 win over mighty Argentina with goals from Lachlan Wales and Marco Tilio. The Socceroos led early in the first half, with a 14th-minute strike from Wales. Things got more complicated for the Albiceleste when Francisco Ortega was sent off. The 22-year-old was asked to march after earning two bookings in the space of a minute towards the end of the first half.

Despite enjoying more possession, Argentina's failure to convert their chances and penetrate the opposition defence came back to haunt them. An 80-minute goal from Marco Tilio was the final nail in the coffin as Australia completed the second upset of the day at Tokyo Olympics

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Hat-trick hero Richarlison inspires Brazil to victory over Germany

Richarlison became the first Premier League player to score a hat-trick at the Olympics (Courtesy: Olympics)

Richarlison scored three goals inside 23 minutes as Brazil dusted off arch-rivals Germany 4-2 in their opening match of 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Leading the attack for Brazil, the Everton forward scored in the 7th, 22nd, and 30th minute to give his team a 3-0 lead going into half-time.

Nadiem Amiri and Ragnar Ache's goals in the second half saw Germany make it 3-2. But, Paulinho's late goal sealed the tie for Brazil.

Maximilian Arnold's second yellow in the 63rd minute only worsened things for Stefan Kuntz's side, as they spent the majority of the second half down to 10 men. Brazil continued to be dominant, but Germany looked to have found a way back when Ache made it 4-2. However, Brazil held their nerves to seal the victory.


Resilient Egypt contain title-contenders Spain to goalless draw

Tokyo Olympics
Spain enjoyed a 71% ball possession but could breach the Egypt defence (Courtesy: Olympics)

Egypt, with captain Ahmed Hegazy in defence, held European giants Spain to a goalless draw in the opening fixture of the first day. Putting on a solid show, Egypt's 5-4-1 shape off the ball was too much to break for La Roja. First-half injuries to Oscar Mingueza and Dani Ceballos meant Spain had to make two early substitutions.

Despite controlling possession and looking well-toned on all fronts, Spain's lack of vertical play was apparent. The game's most potent chance fell to Marco Asensio, who failed to convert.

In attempts to be more incisive in front of goal, the likes of Bryan Gil and Rafa Mir were introduced at the start of the second half. However, Egypt dealt with every single threat well and denied Spain any big scoring opportunity.

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