Reigning champions Brazil had been held to a goalless draw by the Ivory Coast within the males’s Olympic soccer competitors on Sunday, whereas Andre-Pierre Gignac’s hat-trick in a 4-3 win over South Africa stored France’s hopes alive.
Brazil, who received gold for the primary time 5 years in the past on dwelling soil in Rio, might have moved to the brink of qualification for the knock-out stage in Yokohama however had been denied by a cussed Ivory Coast.
It might have been worse, although, as they needed to play greater than an hour with 10 males after Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz’s Thirteenth-minute purple card for bringing down Youssouf Dao when he was via on purpose.
Eboue Kouassi’s late dismissal evened up the numbers, however the Ivorians held on as former Barcelona winger Malcom missed a late probability for the South Americans.
Brazil lead Group D on purpose distinction forward of their remaining recreation of the opening section towards Saudi Arabia, who misplaced 3-2 to Germany to be eradicated from the competitors.
Felix Uduokhai’s Seventy fifth-minute purpose gave Germany, who had Amos Pieper despatched off halfway via the second half, an important three factors.
The Germans, seeking to win males’s gold for the primary time as a unified nation, will attain the subsequent spherical with victory over the Ivory Coast in three days’ time.
France would have been observing an early exit with a slip-up towards South Africa, however veteran striker Gignac rescued Les Bleus in a pulsating match in Saitama.
The Group A encounter burst into life after a goalless first half, which noticed South African midfielder Luther Singh miss a penalty, as Kobamelo Kodisang put the underdogs forward eight minutes after the restart.
The 35-year-old Gignac, captaining France in Japan, levelled shortly afterwards, just for Evidence Makgopa to revive South Africa’s slender lead within the 72nd minute.
Former Marseille star Gignac, who final performed for the French senior staff in 2016, equalised once more.
Teboho Mokoena thought he had received the match with simply 9 minutes to play with an exquisite curling strike that flew in off the crossbar, however Gignac slotted dwelling his fourth purpose of the match from the penalty spot 5 minutes later.
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France nearly ‘on plane back’
There was nonetheless time for France to grab a winner, as Gignac discovered Teji Savanier to drill in a low strike within the second minute of added time.
“After each South African goal it felt a little more like we were on the plane back,” mentioned Gignac, who has performed for Mexican membership Tigres since 2015.
“We saw the joy after Teji’s goal and we gave ourselves a final against Japan. With heart, we can do well. We don’t want to return to France.”
South Africa, who had been hit by two gamers testing constructive for Covid-19 within the Olympic Village earlier than the match began, might want to beat Mexico of their final group recreation and hope Japan get the higher of France to have any probability of constructing the final eight.
The hosts held on to register their second straight win with a 2-1 success towards Mexico, who’re second above France on purpose distinction.
Goals from Real Madrid teen Takefusa Kubo and Ritsu Doan put them in management inside the primary 11 minutes and it proved sufficient regardless of Roberto Alvarado halving the deficit.
Spain moved to the highest of Group C as Mikel Oyarzabal’s late strike — their first purpose of the match — downed Australia 1-0. Argentina beat Egypt 1-0.
In Group B, Honduras got here from behind to beat New Zealand 3-2 and South Korea thrashed 10-man Romania 4-0 to depart all 4 groups on three factors.