The second round of the men’s soccer portion of the Olympics finished earlier today, and it did not disappoint (again). Like last week, this morning’s games were full of surprises. Many teams that had a rough start manage to turn it around this round, while other nations struggled after having a strong start on Thursday.
Here’s a recap of the most notable matches this second round.
Two for Two for the Olympic Hosts
The Olympic hosts continued their perfect start with another impressive win, now against Mexico.
The Japanese team used their speed in transition to their advantage, as they were 2-0 up after 11 minutes. Once again, the Real Madrid starlet, Takefusa Kubo, shined as he led Japan’s fierce attack, where he scored the opening goal in the 5th minute.
On the contrary, Mexico showed a completely different attitude to the one they showed in the impressive 4-1 against France. Despite having more possession, Mexico didn’t have as many chances to equalize for most of the game. Their defensive errors were the difference makers as they gave away a penalty in the 10′ minute, and even went one man down after Johan Vazquez received a red card in the 68′ minute.
Fortunately for Mexico, they managed to pull one back in the 85′ minute, as goal difference could play a big factor in this group.
Gignac For the Rescue
France managed to bounce back from their 4-1 defeat to Mexico with a last minute 4-3 win over South Africa. This game was an utter goal fest as both teams’ defensive inefficiencies led to 7 goals to be scored.
Andre Pierre Gignac was France’s main man as he scored a hat trick to edge past the African nation. Gignac even provided the assist for the last minute winner in the 90+2′ minute.
South Africa were left heartbroken as they led in the game three times (goals in the 53′, 73′, and 82′). They were the better team for large lapses of the game, but Gignac fought back harder to hand them the defeat.
France now comes into the last game hoping to make a big statement win against Japan to pass to the knockout rounds.
Asian Olympic Nations > Other Olympic Nations
After losing to New Zealand last matchday, South Korea turns things around with an impressive 0-4 win over Romania.
Despite winning, Romania was the better team for the first 20 minutes as they were constantly testing out the Korean goalkeeper. Romania even managed to score the first goal in the 27′, unfortunately, they put the ball behind their own net.
Things would take a drastic turn for the Eastern European nation as they were down to 10 men right before halftime. Now with one more player, South Korea took control of the game and managed to put 3 more goals passed Romania.
That own goal was really a domino effect, who knew an own goal would lead to a red card and an embarrassing 4-0 loss.
There You Go Spain
After an unimpressive draw with Egypt, Spain managed to edge passed Australia win a narrow 0-1 win. Mikel Oyarzabal’s 81′ minute header was the difference maker in this match.
Despite winning, many will still question Spain if their still gold medal contenders as they fail to impress many. Just like in the Euros, Spain’s attack is still unable to produce many goal chance, and most importantly score. Spain could still improve and have a firing attack in the later stages, but right now many have their doubts.
Other results include impressive 2-3 wins for Honduras and Germany over New Zealand and Saudi Arabia respectively, a narrow 1-0 Argentinian victory over Egypt, and a fierce 0-0 draw between Ivory Coast and Brazil.
The final round of the men’s soccer group stage will be mouthwatering as every team except Saudi Arabia can still qualify to the knockout rounds. Will there be shock early exits in the Men’s Soccer Olympic group stage?
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