These were the moments worth remembering from Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The men’s football event at the Tokyo Olympics was nothing short of a ride full of thrills and uncertainties. Brazil came up as the champions ultimately, but it did not look to be as certain from the beginning. One of the tournament favourites, France crashed out from the group stages following two losses and a last-gasp win, whereas Egypt, New Zealand and hosts Japan went beyond everyone’s expectations.

From Japan’s 4-0 victory against France to South Korea’s 6-0 win against Honduras, the tournament offered moments, both collective and individual that are worth remembering for quite some time. Here are 10 of those moments, compiled by Khel Now for you to look back and enjoy:

10. Lee Kang-in’s brace off the bench against Romania

The South Korean U-23 team was one of the most enjoyable football teams that participated at the Tokyo Olympics. The team was dynamic and quick on transitions, using the pace that their forwards possessed. One such instance, that was a testament to their prowess was Lee Kang-in‘s quickfire brace against Romania.

The Valencia youngster came on the pitch replacing Hwang Ui-Jo in the 79th minute. Although the South Koreans were two goals up already, Lee converted a penalty just five minutes after his inclusion. To top it, he quickly burst into pace and met Kang Yun-seong’s ball from the left in the 90th minute. In just 11 minutes, the 20-year-old scored a brace, displaying the set of abilities that he and the Koreans had in their depository.

9. Douglas Luiz’s 14th minute red card

On their way to Tokyo Olympics glory, the Brazilian side only failed to beat two teams in designated normal time. Against Mexico in the semi-finals, they won via penalties and the other game that they drew was against Ivory Coast. The Group D fixture seemed tough for the Brazilians to come out on top because they played most of the minutes with a man down.

After a VAR check, Douglas Luiz’s last-man challenge was awarded a red card and that came in just the 14th minute of the match. The decision was controversial and raised eyebrows, considering it came off the softest of touches and barely 15 minutes into the game. Although Ivory Coast were also limited to 10 men in the 79th minute, this moment significantly swung Brazil’s potential to clinch the win.

8. Hwang Ui-Jo’s hat-trick against Honduras

On their days, the South Korea football team put on goal fests at the Tokyo Olympics in multiple matches. In one of these instances, the Asian side scored six goals against Honduras in their third group stage match. Three out of those six goals came off Hwang Ui-Jo’s boots.

Hwang completed his hat-trick in the 52nd minute, scoring three of South Korea’s first four goals. The Koreans scored three penalties on the night, two of which were a part of Hwang’s hat-trick. The forward’s only open play goal was significant, as it came in the latter stages of the first half to put Korea into a 3-0 lead going into half-time.

7. France’s miserable loss against Japan

The French football side’s Tokyo Olympics campaign started with a 4-1 loss against Mexico and it only went downhill afterward. In their last group match, what turned out to be their last in the entire tournament, Les Bleus were humiliated 4-0 by hosts Japan.

Despite having experienced campaigners like Florian Thauvin and Andre-Pierre Gignac in the lineup, France’s misery peaked against Japan. 19-year-old Takefusa Kubo opened the scoring for Japan and by the time it was 3-0, France conceded a red card. Randal Kolo Muani’s sending off and France’s end, was nailed by Daizen Maeda’s added-time goal that made it 4-0.

6. Richarlison’s quickest hat-trick in Olympic history

Watch: Richarlison’s hat-trick Vs Germany

Brazil’s Tokyo Olympics campaign ended up with them being only the fifth nation to defend the Olympic football gold and it seemed likely from the very first match. Going up against arch European rivals Germany, Brazil pulled off a 4-2 win, despite the Germans clutching on to make it 3-3 towards the end. Richarlison’s first-half hat-trick set the stage for Brazilian dominance prior to that.

Landing in Tokyo after a not-so-favourable Copa America campaign, the Everton forward took just seven minutes to open the scoring and continued the rhythm with goals in the 22nd and the 30th minute. Including an acrobatic finish. The hat-trick eventually proved to be crucial for Richarlison in the long run. He finished as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals to his name and the record for the quickest hat-trick ever scored at the Summer Games.

5. Rivas’ late winner against New Zealand

Honduras’ only win at the Tokyo Olympics came in a tight and exciting match. Against New Zealand, the side came back from a 2-1 deficit to win 2-3 in their second group stage game. Reggina’s Rigoberto Rivas scored in the 87th minute to pull off an emphatic win for the Central Americans.

After equalizing in the 78th minute following Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. goal, Honduras gained much-needed momentum to steal the game. Rivas started his run from the left flank, cut in to beat two defenders on the way to get past Michael Woud. Coming off the bench in the 63rd minute, the 23-year-old executed a comeback that will be remembered for a long time.

4. Savanier’s last gasp goal in France’s only win

In France’s lacklustre Tokyo Olympics campaign, there were, perhaps, only two positive takeaways. One of them was Andre-Pierre Gignac’s hat-trick and the other being Teji Savanier’s last-minute winner. Both of these occurred against South Africa and at that point of time, it seemed like Les Bleus were on course to make a rebound.

When Gignac’s overlapping run put him into a brilliant crossing position, Savanier moved into the box to act as cover for the first man receiving the ball. The cross met him and after taking a soft first touch, the Montpellier midfielder finished into the bottom left corner. This goal gave France their only win of the tournament.

3. Marco Asensio’s stunning winner against Japan

One of the most functional football sides at the Tokyo Olympics were hosts Japan, who looked to do the spectacular after pushing Spain to extra-time in the semi-finals. However, Marco Asensio’s sublime finish guaranteed that did not happen, finishing one in the top corner.

Receiving Mikel Oyarzabal’s ball from the right side, Asensio shot on the half-turn without having a clear view of the goal. The outcome was, however, what he intended. Despite getting booked for a shirtless celebration after the goal, the quality of the strike simply deserved a celebration like that!

2. Rafa Mir’s late hat-trick that made Spain’s silver-winning campaign happen

Watch: Rafa Mir scores a hat-trick as a substitute

Spain’s Tokyo Olympics campaign seemed to be done and dusted when Max Gradel scored in the 91st minute. The scoreboard read 1-2 with just a few minutes of added time remaining on the clock. The last bit of drama in regular time, before Ivory Coast could take it home, came from Rafa Mir, who scored with his first touch after coming on in the 92nd minute.

Forcing extra time, Mir displayed a classic No. 9’s show, scoring quick goals by attacking the box. The Wolves striker then scored two more to complete his hat-trick before the added 30 minutes were out. Ultimately, Spain won 5-2, and it was the 24-year-old who made the difference.

1. Malcom’s gold-winning goal

Former Barcelona winger Malcom Oliveira’s only goal of the tournament turned out to be the one that won the gold for Brazil in Tokyo. Often coming on as a substitute to act as a catalyst in the dying minutes, he scored in the 115th minute against La Roja.

The goal was a testament to every ability that Malcom has stood for in his career. After receiving Antony’s ball, the 24-year-old made a brief half-space run to shoot past Unai Simon. He displayed excellent strength on the ball and kept up with his marker until he shot it as per his liking.

Prior to his goal, he was subbed in only after it was certain that the match would be going into the extra 30 minutes. In the 30 minutes that he played, he made the tired Spanish legs suffer with his runs, as well as scoring one of the most important goals in Brazil’s Olympic history.

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