Friday, 6 August 2021

Men's Olympic football: Mexico wins bronze

 


Mexico claimed the bronze medal at the Olympics after holding off a late rally from Japan to beat the hosts 3-1 at Saitama Stadium.

Goals from Sebastian Cordova, Johan Vasquez and Alexis Vega were enough to make it a pair of podium finishes in the last three tournaments for El Tri, as they left the Samurai Blue with a mountain to climb despite Kaoru Mitoma's late response.

Japan's wait for a medal in the men's tournament, meanwhile, will continue for another Olympiad.

What happened in the bronze medal match?

Cordova converted an early penalty to give Mexico the lead and the America star was on hand to help set up Vasquez's goal with a free-kick inside the opening half-hour.

Vega added a third just before the hour mark to keep El Tri firmly on course for third place in the tournament.

Though Mitoma offered a distant hope of a remarkable comeback with a quarter-hour left on the clock, it was not enough to tip the scales in Japan's favour and the hosts were left empty-handed at the final whistle.

El Tri bounce back from Rio frustrations for medal success

Having claimed gold at London 2012 with a string of impressive performances, hopes had been high four years later when Mexico had arrived in Brazil to defend their crown.

But a 2-2 draw with Germany and a 1-0 loss to South Korea put their hopes of a second successive medal finish to bed, despite a 5-1 rout of Fiji, as they were knocked out in the group stage.

At Tokyo 2020, however, they have rebounded in style, with victories over France and South Africa in Group A sending them through to the quarter-finals in some style.

A nine-goal thriller against Korea once more made further amends for Rio before Brazil edged them out in the semi-finals with a dose of penalty shootout heartbreak.

But Jaime Lozano's side have now delivered a medal return for the tournament after exacting revenge over Japan for a defeat in the group stage.





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