Mexico thrashed France 4-1 in the men’s football tournament opener at Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After a stalemate in the first half, second-half goals from Alexis Vega, Sebastián Córdova, Uriel Antuna and Eduardo Aguirre sealed the first win for Mexico ahead of the opening ceremony of the Games. France settled for a goal from Andre-Pierre Gignac, who plays in a Mexican side Tigres.
Mexico took the lead less than two minutes after the break as Vega scored first in the 47th minute before Sebastian Cordova added a second in the 55th. The 35-year-old captain Gignac scored from the penalty spot in the 70th minute to narrow the gap for France But Uriel Atuna put Mexico ahead 3-1 in the 80th and Eduardo Aguirre added a goal in stoppage time for El Tri.
Sylvain Ripoll’s France are looking for a first Olympic medal since winning gold in 1984 despite having no star player, with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, who were blocked by his club to join the Olympic team. “We’re obviously disappointed with the result but also with the balance of our play,” said Ripoll. “To compete, we would’ve needed a big performance, but that wasn’t the case.”
France now face a tough task to get out of Group A with a top-two finish, ahead of games against Co South Africa and hosts Japan on July 28. The top two teams in each of the four, four-team groups will advance to the knockout stage. Elsewhere, New Zealand beat South Korea 1-0 to take the early lead in Group B and Ivory Coast beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in Group D.
Brazil, who won gold for the first time on home soil five years ago in Rio, defeated Germany 4-2 in a dramatic match which saw forward Richarlison net a first-half hat-trick. Spain, which features six players from the Euro 2020 semi-finals team, settled with 0-0 draw with Egypt. It was their first-ever win in Olympic football, having managed just one draw in each of the 2008 and 2012 tournaments.
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