One day after the women’s tournament began, men’s soccer at the 2020 Olympics started, with all 16 teams in action and wanted to get started.
The rematch of the 2016 gold medal match between Brazil and Germany was the choice of matches, but there were several other big games involving France, Mexico, Argentina and Australia.
Here is a look at all the results from match day one …
Mexico 4-1 France
Mexico ran out comfortable winners over a poor France / Dan Mullan / Getty Images
France’s lack of real preparation, which saw a heavily revised squad submitted after a number of initial calls had to be withdrawn when clubs refused permission to go to the Olympics, probably contributed to a heavy defeat against Mexico.
Alexis Vega and Sebastian Cordova made both sides at halftime to give Mexico a 2-0 lead. Andre-Pierre Gignac, who plays his club football in Mexico, pulled one back from the penalty spot, only for a French collapse to see the score line extended to 4-1 late.
France now has a significant hill to climb if they are to reach the knockout stages, while Mexico will believe that a repeat of their 2012 gold medal may be feasible.
Japan 1-0 South Africa
Takefusa Kubo proved to be Japan’s match winner against South Africa / Dan Mullan / Getty Images
The hosts Japan had to wait until well into the second half to get the decisive goal in their opening match against South Africa, with Real Madrid’s talent Takefusa Kubo hitting the key.
Kubo cut in from the left and fired a low short side over the goal in the far corner, a strike definitely worthy of being the match winner.
There had been concerns about whether the game would even continue after most South Africans were identified as close contacts between two players who tested positive for COVID-19. But most could handle the necessary protocols to be able to play the game.
New Zealand 1-0 South Korea
Chris Wood scored for New Zealand at his second Olympics / Atsushi Tomura / Getty Images
New Zealand gave themselves an excellent chance to make it to the knockout stages of an Olympic men’s tournament for the first time since the end of the group stage in both 2008 and 2012.
Burnley striker Chris Wood, one of the older players in the squad and a veteran of the 2012 Olympic team, scored the only goal in his first victory against South Korea.
It was not the beginning that the Koreans would have wanted in a potentially very open group.
Honduras 0-1 Romania
There was little to distinguish between Romania and Honduras / Atsushi Tomura / Getty Images
A single own goal from Edwin Oliva was all that could separate Romania and Honduras, with the Honduran right-back turning the ball in his net in the first half.
Romania can consider themselves extremely happy as the victory came even though they did not record a shot on goal from seven overall attempts throughout the game. Honduras meanwhile had five shots on goal from 17 efforts, as well as edging holdings.
Probably the weakest group in the tournament, trying to get an initial win to build momentum would always be crucial for all four countries involved.
Egypt 0-0 Spain
Spain was frustrated by an elastic Egypt / Masashi Hara / Getty Images
Spain named six players who played in the Euro 2020 semi-finals earlier this month in their first XI against Egypt. That level of quality is the main reason why La Roja are favorites to win gold in this tournament, but they failed to break down an opponent who was resilient.
Egypt was denied permission by Liverpool to appoint Mohamed Salah in their squad but will take confidence to get a good first result in a very tough group.
Spain surprisingly dominated the possession and hit the post through Dani Ceballos, but the elusive goal never came when Egypt held on to a point.
Argentina 0-2 Australia
Australia won an unexpected victory over Argentina / Masashi Hara / Getty Images
Australia pulled off a big shock against two-time former champions Argentina, did early and late to secure a 2-0 victory and gave themselves a solid platform from which they now have a previously unexpected good chance to make the knockout rounds.
Lachlan Wales put Australia ahead at the start of 15 minutes, before substitute Marco Tilio doubled that advantage with just 10 minutes plus stoppage time left.
Argentina had more of the ball but Australia were more efficient with it and took their chances.
Ivory Coast 2-1 Saudi Arabia
Ivory Coast got an important opening win / YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / Getty Images
Ivory Coast knew it would be important to beat Saudi Arabia in their first match to advance from an extremely tough group and that is exactly what they did.
A goal from AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie decided the competition in the second half, with an own goal that originally gave the Ivorians the lead and then established senior international Salem Al-Dawsari who took an equalizer just before the interval.
Both of these teams will now face Brazil and Germany in upcoming matches, although the latter fighters in the opening game will give the others hope.
Brazil 4-2 Germany
Richarlison made a first half against Germany / Toru Hanai / Getty Images
The repeat of the 2016 gold medal match was full of goals and action, with Everton forward Richarlison completing a hat-trick in the first half hour as Brazil ran to an unexpectedly comfortable 3-0 lead.
Germany looked bad defensively and were saved more embarrassment when goalkeeper Florian Muller saved a penalty from Mathues Cunha.
Germany drew one again through Nadiem Amiri and later made it 3-2 in the final stages after captain Max Arnold had been sent off. But a fourth goal in Brazil deep into the stoppage time from Paulinho ensured that the reigning champions won.
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