Football in Tokyo Olympic Games 2021 begins earlier than any other sports. The entire sixteen teams have played their opener on Thursday. Unfortunately, not all favourites managed to be instantly in-form. Only Brasil and Mexico started their campaign impressively as they romped over Germany and France in a fairly entertaining display, whereas Spain was held in a goalless draw when facing Egypt.
Selecao trashed Die Mannschaft 4-2 in Yokohama International stadium, the venue which happened to be the one when Brasil thumped Germany in World Cup 2002 final. This time, it was Richarlison who was the man of the match as he bagged his hattrick. Stefan Kuntz’s men scored a lifeline through Nadim Amiri’s speculative long range shot and Ragnar Ache’s header. However, Bayer Leverkusen man Paulinho extended their lead and closed the score sheet with his goal before the final whistle. The reigning champions should have no difficulty to secure more wins in the next fixtures against Ivory Coast which dismantled Saudi Arabia 2-1 in the group D opener.
Brasil vs Germany 4-2
Goals: Richarlison (7, 22, 30), Paulinho (90); Nadiem Amiri (57), Ragnar Ache (84)
Brasil: Santos – Dani Alves, Diego Carlos, Guillermo Arana, Nino – Douglas Luiz, Bruno Guimares – Richarlison (Paulinho 74), Claudinho (Malcolm 64), Anthony (Reiner 74) – Matheus Cunha
Germany: Florian Muller – Felix Udokhai, Benjamin Heinrich, A Pieper (Jordan Torunarigha 46), D Raum – A Maier, A Stach (Keven Schlotterbeck 80), Max Arnold, Nadiem Amiri (Cedric Teuchert 74), Marco Richter (Ragnar Ache 68) – Max Kruse (Eduard Loewen 68)
The gold medal winner in 2012 edition, Mexico, did not plan to start slow this time after their failure in Rio 2016. They hammered Les Blues 4-1. Jaime Lozano’s men’s attractive attack really put pressure on France’s backline from the beginning. Nevertheless, they had to wait for the goals in the second half after knocking on Pierre Kalulu and Co at the first half. Ernesto Vega gave them the lead, followed by Francisco Cordova’s goal. Sylvain Piroll’s side managed to reduce the margin as Andre Pierre Gignac converted the penalty on 69th minute. Carlos Atuna and Eduardo Aguirre extended their lead in the last ten minutes of the game.
Mexico vs France 4-1
Goals: Ernesto Vega (47), Fransisco Cordova (55), Carlos Antuna (80), Eduardo Aguirre (90); Andre Gignac (69)
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa – C J Montes, E Aguirre, J Vasquez, J Sanchez – C Rodriguez, Francisco Cordova (Jose Esquivel 72),Luis Romo - Diego Lainez (Carlos Antuna 72), Ernesto Vega (Roberto Alvarado 84) Henry Martin (Eduardo Aguirre 88)
France: P Bernardoni – C Michelin, Mobido Sagnan, Pierre Kalulu, Anthony Caci (Melvin Bard 90) – E Le Fee, Florian Thauvin (Nathanael Mbuku 79),Lucas Tousart (Alexis Beka 60) – T Savanier, A Gignac.
Meanwhile, two teams from Oceania, New Zealand and Australia stunned the favourites in the opening matches. The Whites beat the bronze medal winner in London 2012, South Korea, 1-0 through a single goal of Burnley forward, Chris Wood. The Socceroos even made a better display as they defeated two-time gold medal winner, Argentina 2-0. In the meantime, the host Japan started their campaign quite well by securing a narrow win against South Africa. Real Madrid youngster Take Kubo netted the only goal of the game. Next, the Samurai Blues will have to take on the impressive El Sombrero to decide who deserves to be on the best in group A.