Mexico win bronze in men’s soccer tournament in Tokyo against Japan
After losing to the host nation in the group stage, Mexico got their revenge and has a medal to show for it.
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The third place or bronze medal match in the men’s soccer tournament in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics took place on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.
Both teams that clashed in the game, Mexico and Japan, had already met in the group stage.
Mexico got off to a poor start against the host nation and were down two goals in the first 15 minutes of play. They clawed one back in the second half to end the match with a 2-1 loss.
Japan finished the group stage with a perfect record, winning all three of its games. The only goal it conceded was to “El Tri.”
Elimination in the semi-finals was a difficult thing for both countries to endure since fighting for Gold in the match on Saturday would have been a better ending to their stories at the tournament.
The “Samurai Blue” would have had the chance to lift Gold in its country and would have won every game it played in the process.
Mexico wanted to repeat its success from the 2012 final when it stood on the podium for the first time in its history for the sport. “El Tri” pulled off an upset by beating Brazil 2-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium.
Fans were able to see those two finalists play each other again at these Olympics, but after both teams failed to score in regular and extra time, Brazil got its revenge in a penalty shootout.
Brazil now has the opportunity to claim its second gold medal in as many Olympic games. The country won for the first time in 2016 when the games were in Rio.
Japan also proved to be a tough team to beat for Spain in their semi-final match.
When another penalty shootout seemed like a guarantee after the two were not able to put the ball in the back of the net, “La Roja” scored in the 115th minute thanks to a shot from Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio.
The host nation was the favorite when facing Mexico on Friday because of its home field advantage and a previous victory over them in the group stage.
“El Tri” went up in the scoreboard early on thanks to a penalty after striker Henry Martin, was fouled in the box.
Club América’s young prospect, Sebastian Córdova, stepped up and put a clever penalty past the goalie by sending him the wrong way in the 13th minute of play.
Mexico’s second goal came via a set piece,with Córdova taking a free kick from distance and center-back Johan Vásquez getting on the end of it to head into the bottom right corner of the net.
With a 2-0 lead in the first 22 minutes, the game began to level out for Mexico.
It would take until the 58th for them to see a third goal.
Continuing the trend of the match, Córdova capitalized from another set piece.
He whipped the ball into the box from a corner and 23 year-old Alexis Vega, who is only 5’8’’, rose to send a powerful header past the Japanese goalkeeper.
The host nation got a goal back in the 78th minute, but it was not enough to inspire a comeback.
Córdova had a great night, with one goal and two assists, and he hopes his performance in the tournament will make scouts look his way and help with his dream of playing in one of Europe’s top leagues next season.
Mexico will be on the podium on Saturday after the final to receive its bronze medals.
It may not be the gold it was hoping for, but the team are still among the best, and were able to avenge the loss suffered in the group stage.