The Olympics Football Tournament is at the business end and any of the 4 remaining teams could take the gold medals. Tokyo 2020 is being held in 2021 with Free Live Streaming on BBC iPlayer. Need a VPN for 2020 Olympics?
The men’s football tournament at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has gone by in the blink of an eye, but not without producing plenty of excitement and good football. As suggested on these pages last week, watching these games is a far more worthwhile way to spend your time than watching pre-season club friendlies.
🇯🇵 Tokyo 2020 Olympics
📺 Free Live 2020 Olympics Streaming on BBC + Catchup on BBC iPlayer
📅 23 July 2021 – 8 August 2021
The competition is now at the semi-final stage, with both matches set to take place on Wednesday August 3rd. Ahead of them, we thought we’d put together a quick preview on both games to give you an idea of what to expect if you haven’t watched any of the competition yet.
The first of the semi-final clashes will see 2012 Winners Mexico take on 2016 Winners Brazil.
Mexico have scored 14 goals in their four games, making them the top scorers in the tournament so far. They began the competition by thrashing France 4-1 with goals from Ernesto Vega, Francisco Cordova, Carlos Antuna and Eduardo Aguirre giving them an important three points to set them on their way. Defeat to Japan followed in their second match, Roberto Alvarado scored a late consolation goal after they had fallen 2-0 behind within the first 11 minutes. They bounced back from that defeat by beating South Africa 3-0 in their final group stage match, with Vega on the scoresheet again, along with Luis Romo and Henry Martin. They qualified second in the group, three points behind Japan but were viewed as one of the danger teams in the knock-out stages due to the wide array of potential goalscorers in their ranks. Eight goals from seven different scorers in the three group stages gave opponents pause from thought.
In their quarter final match they outgunned South Korea 6-3 in a match that swung between the sublime and the ridiculous multiple times. A game that went 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2, 5-2, 6-2 and then ended 6-3 saw goals galore, drama, great finishing, terrible defending and plenty of excitement. Two goals each from Martin and Cordova, and others from Romo and Aguirre sent the Mexican team through and again warned teams of their fire power. They will be a bit concerned about their defense, six goals conceded from four games is not ideal but they will have confidence in their attack being able to outscore the opposition.
Brazil started the competition with a Richarlison-inspired 4-2 win over Germany. The Everton man grabbed a hat-trick within the first half hour to set the reigning Champions on their way. Paulinho added the fourth to put the cherry on the cake. A 0-0 draw with the Ivory Coast, where Brazil played 77 minutes with 10 men, came next before a comfortable 3-1 victory of Saudi Arabia clinched top spot in the group. Richarlison helped himself to two more goals, with Matheus Cunha also on the scoresheet.
It was Cunha who was the hero in the quarter-final, grabbing the only goal in tightly contested match against Egypt to keep alive Verde-Amarela’s hopes of back to back Olympic gold medals, which could go some way towards easing the pain their fans suffered when the senior side lost the Copa America final to Argentina just a few weeks ago. While Brazil haven’t looked as impressive as Mexico in attacking terms, they have great balance to their team. A strong back four, a brilliant double-pivot of Douglas Luiz and Bruno Guimaraes, and an exciting front four. They have retained the same starting 11 for each game with just one change made as a result of suspension. Douglas Luiz missed the Saudi Arabia match after his red card, but was immediately re-instated for the Egypt match.
The second semi-final will pit hosts Japan against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Spain.
Japan topped group A and were close to perfect in their first three games. They defeated South Africa 1-0 with Takefusa Kubo the lone goalscorer, before a 2-1 victory over Mexico ensured passage to the knock-out stages. Kubo was again on the scoresheet, along with Ritsu Doan. Japan rounded out their group games with their most impressive performance so far as they demolished France 4-0 to send Les Blues home and advance as group winners. Kubo opened the scoring for the third game in a row, before Hiroki Sakai, Koji Miyoshi and Daizen Maeda completed the rout. It was, without doubt, one of the most impressive displays by any team in the competition so far.
It set up a quarter-final contest with New Zealand that turned out to be a somewhat dour affair which ended 0-0 after 90 minutes and remained scoreless after extra-time. On to penalties they went, with Japan prevailing 4-2 as Ayase Ueda, Ko Itakura, Yuto Nakayama and Maya Yoshida all held their nerve while goalkeeper Kosei Tani did his part by saving Liberato Cacace’s penalty. Japan aren’t the most talented team in the tournament but they do have a game-changer in Kubo and a great team spirit. They also have the advantage of playing at home in front of their own fans and that could go a long towards helping them secure a medal.
Spain surprised a lot of people with the strength of their squad, particularly the inclusion of so many players who had played a substantial role in their Euro 2020 endeavours. Their competition didn’t get off to the most promising of starts as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Egypt but they defeated Australia 1-0 in their second game with a late Mikel Oyarzabal goal securing the victory and likely passage to the knock-out stages. A 1-1 draw with Argentina, Mikel Merino grabbing the Spanish goal, ensured top spot for La Furia Roja and had the double positive of sending eliminating Argentina, taking out another of the favourites to win it all. Qualification was accomplished but there were still some nagging doubts about Spain as they were yet to turn in an impressive performance. Thus far, they had flattered to deceive.
That pattern continued in the quarter-final in the same vain, and though Dani Olmo cancelled out an early Ivory Coast opener, Spain struggled to see of the African contenders and indeed looked set to go out when they fell 2-1 behind in the first minute of stoppage time. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Rafa Mir stepped up big time for Spain. The Wolves attacker had only been on the pitch one minute when he notched a last gasp equaliser to send the game to extra time. It gave Spain a badly needed shot in the arm, but also served as a gut punch for Ivory Coast. Having poured everything into the game, they had nothing left to give and Spain ran riot in extra-time. Oyarzabal made it 3-2 with a penalty before Mir scored a late brace by Mir gave him a hat-trick and Spain a 5-2 win. They will be fully aware that they can’t afford to leave themselves in such a position again but should take great comfort in the fighting spirit they displayed.
The winners of these games will go on to meet in the Gold medal match on Saturday August 7th, while the losers will face off in the Bronze medal match on Friday August 6th. These games will be shown on the BBC iPlayer and if you want access to the BBC iPlayer but are currently blocked from using it to watch these games, as well as all the other wonderful competition taking place at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo just click here and let Liberty Shield help you.
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