Intriguing semifinal matches in men’s soccer at the 2020 Olympics

Soccer: Panama vs Mexican National Team

We are down to four more teams in the Olympic men’s soccer tournament at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. On Saturday, the four quarterfinal matches took place with Mexico beating South Korea 6-3, Brazil beating Egypt 1-0, Spain beating the Ivory Coast 5-2, and Japan beating New Zealand 4-2 on penalty kicks after the game was deadlocked at zero goals apiece after regulation and extra time.

In the Spain win over the Ivory Coast, Rafa Mir recorded the hat trick. The 24-year-old forward from Murcia, who played for Sociedad Deportiva Huesca in La Liga in 2020-21 (before being relegated to the Segunda Division for the 2021-22 season), scored in the 93rd minute, 117th minute, and 121st minute. The game was very dramatic in the latter stages of the second half. With the score tied at one goal apiece in the first minute of extra time, Max-Alain Gradel put Ivory Coast up 2-1. Then in the third minute of extra time, Mir scored his first of three goals.

Mexico meanwhile had an offensive onslaught of their own. The Mexicans received two goals each from Henry Martin and Francisco Cordova. Mexico scored three goals each in the first and second half. This is the second time in the history of Mexican soccer that they have reached the semifinals of the Olympic men’s soccer tournament. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, reached the final four before beating Japan 3-1 in the semi-finals, and Brazil 2-1 in the gold medal game.

In Brazil’s win over Egypt, Cunha scored the lone goal of the game in the 37th minute. Meanwhile in Japan’s win over New Zealand, the Japanese were perfect in their four penalty attempts, while New Zealand missed scoring on two attempts.

Of the four teams left, three teams have won Olympic gold in men’s football before. In addition to Mexico winning gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Spain won gold at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and Brazil won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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