The group stage of the men’s soccer portion of the 2021 Olympics have come to an end. 16 nations started in this competition, now only 8 remain for the knockout stage.
Before talking about the quarter finals matchups, here’s a recap of the entire group stage.
This last group stage matchday had a little bit of everything. Some games offered thrilling scoring games, while some games didn’t live up to the hype.
Here’s a recap of the most notable things from the group stage
The Host’s Perfect Run Continues as Gold Medal ‘Favorites’ Crash Out
Japan were selected as the host nation for 2021 Olympics, and they did not disappoint in the men’s soccer portion. The Japanese team finished up round 3 with a whooping 0-4 win over a very poor France.
The hosts were the better team for the entirety of the game, as they’ve been using their fast attacking transitions to their advantage. Japan’s dominance was awarded with 2 goals in the 27′ and 34′ minute(s) to make a big statement.
On the other hand, France did not respond to these blows, at all during this tournament. France emerged as one of the favorites to take the Gold Medal, but ultimately underperformed in everyone’s eyes. The French squad never seemed to fix their deficiencies in the backline, which resulted in 11 goals to be conceded in just 3 group stage games.
The Host’s perfect form combined with France’s defensive problems paved the way for Japan to get all 9 points in the group, and for France to crash out early in the Olympics.
Catracho Dream Comes to An End as Korea Makes a Big Statement
If you thought Japan’s 0-4 win was humiliating, just wait till you hear about Korea’s win over Honduras.
Honduras face an early exit in the tournament after losing to South Korea SIX TO ZERO. Honduras were hoping to replicate their impressive run in the 2016 Olympics, but ultimately fell short as they lost their final group stage game in utter humiliation.
Things got off to a bad start for Honduras as they gave up two early penalties to be 2-0 after 20 minutes. Things got worse as they were left with 10 men after Carlos Melendez received a red card in the 39′. As the minutes passed, it was evident that Honduras wanted the game to be over as they couldn’t keep up with Korea’s attack.
On the flip side, South Korea finish in utter style with another impressive win over their opponent(s). The Asian team really defined the term “bounce back” as they followed their 0-1 loss to New Zealand with 4-0 and 6-0 wins over Romania and Honduras. This is the second straight time in which Korea sent a CONCACAF nation home early in the Olympics (Mexico in 2016).
Mo Salah? Yeah We Don’t Need Him
Against all odds, Egypt advance to the knockout stages. Everyone were tipping Argentina or Australia to finish second behind Spain. Many stood with this stance after Liverpool rejected Mo Salah’s participation in Olympics, but Egypt had different plans.
The African nation looked the hungrier team in the match, as they were constantly attacking every time they had possession. Their persistence was reward right before half time as Ahmed Yasser Rayan made it 0-1.
Australia began attacking more in the second half, but Egypt kept providing danger with fierce counter attacks. Australia tried and tried, but they weren’t able to break the Egyptian wall. Egypt wrapped things up as Ammar Hamdi scored a rebound in the 85′ to seal Egypt’s qualification to the quarter finals. The North African nation took advantage of Argentina’s inability to beat Spain in the other group stage game.
It is certain that Egypt will celebrate this historic win all night long before they began preparing for the knockout stage.
Cote D’Ivoire Draws Germany to Knock Them Out :0
Another surprise in the men’ soccer group stage: Germany, last Olympics’ silver medalists have crashed out of the group stage. The Germans were unable to replicate their previous run as the African nation held them to a 1-1 draw.
Just like France, Germany was disappointing as their inability to produce goal chances finished them off. Throughout the lapse of the game, Cote D’Ivoire looked defensively solid as they prevented the Germans from getting close to their goal. As the minutes passed, Germany’s frustration grew, as they knew that they needed a win to stay alive. Ultimately, their frustration led to an own goal in the 67′ minute by Benjamin Henrichs.
Despite equalizing things with a stunning freekick in the 73′ minute, Ivory Coast were the better team. The African nation didn’t lose a single group stage game, and this was rewarded with a ticket to the quarter finals. Many will say that Germany didn’t bring their best squad, but you expect better things from a men’s soccer powerhouse.
Other notable results include Mexico thrashing South Africa 3-0 and a Brazilian 3-1 win over Saudi Arabia
Here are the men’s soccer Quarter final matchups that will be played this Saturday, July 31st:
Korea Republic vs Mexico (4:00 AM PST)
Brazil vs Egypt (3:00 AM PST)
Japan vs New Zealand (2:00 AM PST)
Spain vs Cote D’Ivoire (1:00 AM PST)
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