The first medal in the men’s soccer category was awarded to Mexico after they downed the Hosts 3-1 for the Bronze.
Both teams remet after previously playing each other in the group stage. Japan came out victorious in that meetup with a 2-1 win over Mexico. It is say to say that the rematch shaped out to be a much different matchup.
Taste of Their Own Medicine
In the previous matchup, Mexico went down to two early goals in the first half. Furthermore, this played a big factor throughout the game. Ironically, Japan was down 2-0 early on in the first half.
Mexico were awarded a penalty early on, where Sebastian Cordova converted it in the 12′ minute. After the goal, Japan would start to improve, but they were missing the punch in the final third. Things would start to get worse for the Hosts as Mexico doubled their lead with a set-piece play in the 22′ minute.
Mexico’s Ambition > Japan’s Exhaustion
One thing to note during this game was that Japan looked exhausted from the start of the game. The Hosts came into this matchup playing 120 minutes in their previous two games. This was also seen in the 2020 Euros with, for example, Spain. All of Spain’s games went into Extra Time, which meant that they had played a total of 630 minutes throughout the Euros.
Going head to head with Spain for 120 minutes and going to a penalty shootout with New Zealand surely took a toll on the Olympic Hosts. When you factor in how teams only have 2 days to recover in the Olympics, you can understand the Japanese exhaustion on the pitch.
Third Goal’s a Charm
The battle for the bronze medal seemed to be sealed in the 58′ minute when Alexis Vega headered a corner kick to make it 3-0. Japan looked utterly defeated after receiving the third goal as the players put their heads down on the pitch. This certainly looked as if the Hosts were now accepting defeat.
Mexico continued to dominate as the second half progressed. At times, it even looked as the fourth goal was coming. Despite this, Mexico were put under pressure as Japan made it 3-1 in the 78′ minute. From that moment, Japan was constantly attacking Mexico, just falling short from equalizing in the end.
Once again, Mexico will feature in the Olympic podium. Mexico will be delighted to come back home with a medal in hand to reward their impressive tournament. Additionally, many Mexicans will be delighted to see how this exciting group of youngsters continue to develop. Maybe these are the group of players that will return the senior Mexican team to better days?
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