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Olympic Men's Soccer 2021: Spain Advances to QFs, Argentina Eliminated After 1-1 Draw

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2021

AP Photo/Martin Mejia

Spain and Argentina played to a 1-1 draw in men's soccer at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Wednesday, resulting in Spain moving on to the quarterfinals and Argentina getting eliminated from the tournament. 

Both Spain and Argentina entered the tournament as strong title contenders, but Argentina had a matching 1-1-1 record with Egypt in Group C and lost the goal differential tiebreaker. Spain, meanwhile, won Group C with one victory and two draws.

In addition to Spain and Argentina, all 14 of the other teams in the men's soccer tournament were in action Wednesday as well.

Here is a rundown of the scores for all eight matches, a preview of the quarterfinal matchups and a breakdown of the most notable moments from Wednesday's contests.

Wednesday's Olympic Men's Soccer Scores

Spain 1, Argentina 1

Germany 1, Ivory Coast 1

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Brazil 3, Saudi Arabia 1

South Korea 6, Honduras 0

New Zealand 0, Romania 0

Egypt 2, Australia 0

Japan 4, France 0

Mexico 3, South Africa 0


Olympic Men's Soccer Quarterfinal Matches - Saturday

Spain vs. Ivory Coast

Japan vs. New Zealand

Brazil vs. Egypt

South Korea vs. Mexico


Wednesday Results

Spain 1, Argentina 1

Spain entered Wednesday's match knowing a draw would be good enough to advance to the next round, but Argentina faced more uncertainty.

With Egypt beating Australia 2-0, the Argentines ended up needing a win.

Lionel Messi was home watching his countrymen and cheering them on:

Roy Nemer @RoyNemer

Lionel Messi watching Argentina vs. Spain in football at the Olympics. This from his Instagram. <a href="https://t.co/lxstBxas5i">pic.twitter.com/lxstBxas5i</a>

Argentina fell behind the eight-ball in the 66th minute when Mikel Merino netted the first goal of the match and put Spain on top 1-0.

With its qualification hopes fading fast, Argentina pressed forward and eventually got the equalizer from Tomas Belmonte in the 87th minute.

It was too little, too late, though, as Argentina was unable to score the go-ahead goal.

Argentina are out of medal contention after winning gold in 2004 and 2008, while Spain remains on the hunt for its first Olympic medal in men's soccer since winning silver in 2000.


Egypt 2, Australia 0

While Spain and Argentina were playing to a tie, Egypt were playing its way into the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win over Australia.

A win or draw could have potentially gotten the Aussies into the knockout stage, but they didn't manage to generate much on the attack.

Meanwhile, Egypt got goals from Ahmed Rayan (44th minute) and Ammar Hamdy (85th minute) en route to victory.

BBC's John Bennett applauded the Egyptians' effort:

John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC

Wonderful performance by Egypt’s men’s football team. A 2 nil win over Australia means they finish above Argentina in Group C and they’re into the Quarter-Finals at the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Olympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Olympics</a>, second in the group behind Spain.

Egypt have never medaled at the Olympics in men's soccer, but it is now just one victory away from playing for a medal.

Doing so won't be easy, though, as they will be tasked with facing defending Olympic gold medalists Brazil in the quarterfinals.


Brazil 3, Saudi Arabia 1

Richarlison continued his Olympic dominance in Brazil's convincing 3-1 win over Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

With the score tied 1-1, the forward scored in both the 76th minute and in stoppage time to clinch Group D for the Brazilians.

As noted by Squawka Football, the Everton star is the leading scorer at the Olympics thus far with five goals:

Squawka Football @Squawka

The top scorers at the Men's Olympic <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Football?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Football</a> in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BRA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BRA</a> Richarlison (5)<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FRA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FRA</a> André-Pierre Gignac (4) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KOR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KOR</a> Hwang Ui-jo (3)<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KOR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KOR</a> Lee Kang-in (3)<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JPN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JPN</a> Takefusa Kubo (3) <br><br>Richarlison is looking to be the fourth Brazilian to top the goalscoring charts at the Olympics. <a href="https://t.co/paf7fIiBNU">pic.twitter.com/paf7fIiBNU</a>

Brazil have medaled at each of the past three Olympics, and they finally broke through with their first-ever gold in 2016 while on their home turf in Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilians will be heavily favored to beat Egypt in the quarters, and they may once again be favored to win gold as well.


Ivory Coast 1, Germany 1

The other Group D match pitted Ivory Coast against Germany, with the Germans needing a win to advance.

Cote d'Ivoire put only two shots on goal for the entire match, but they took the lead in the 67th minute after an own goal by defender Benjamin Henrichs.

That put the Germans into all-out attack mode, and it paid dividends initially with Eduard Loewen scoring in the 73rd minute to make the score 1-1.

While there were some nervous moments, the African side managed to hold on over the final 20 minutes. 

Ivory Coast must now beat Spain to ensure it will play for a medal in men's soccer for the first time.

Meanwhile, one of the top gold-medal contenders in the tournament is now out, as Germany will not medal after taking silver in 2016.


Japan 4, France 0

The host country turned in one of the most impressive performances of the day, beating France 4-0.

Japan was the only team to go a perfect 3-0-0 in group play, and it saved its best performance for last against a French squad that flamed out with one win and two losses.

France struggled throughout the tournament, but it had an especially tough time dealing with the depth and pace of the Japanese attack.

Four players scored in the game, as Takefusa Kubo and Hiroki Sakai scored in the first half, while Koji Miyoshi and Daizen Maeda netted insurance markers off the bench in the second.

Based on its dominance, Japan now has to be considered major threats to win a medal at its home Olympics. It would mark its first Olympic medal in men's soccer since taking bronze in 1968.

A win over New Zealand in the quarters will guarantee they play for bronze at worst.


New Zealand 0, Romania 0

In what was the most uneventful match of the day, New Zealand and Romania played to a scoreless draw.

That was all the Kiwis needed since South Korea crushed Honduras 6-0, with New Zealand already holding a goal differential advantage over Romania.

New Zealand put just one shot on goal in the entire match, while the Romanians could only muster three.

Romania ended up scoring only one goal in the entire tournament but still managed a respectable third-place finish in the group.

New Zealand moved on, but the Kiwis will be hard-pressed to beat the red-hot Japanese in the quarterfinals.


South Korea 6, Honduras 0

Honduras actually had a chance to make it to the quarters Wednesday with a win or draw, but South Korea crushed its dreams decisively.

Korea put on an all-out blitz, leading 2-0 by the 19th minute and 3-0 by halftime.

The Koreans scored three times on penalty kicks, and they had a man advantage for most of the match after Carlos Melendez was given a red card in the 39th minute.

Forward Hwang Uijo was undoubtedly the man of the match, scoring three times in the 12th, 45th and 52nd minutes for Korea.

South Korea clinched Group B with the dominant win, setting the stage for what should be an exciting quarterfinal match against Mexico.

Just two Olympics ago, South Korea won their first Olympic medal in men's soccer with a bronze in 2012, while Mexico won gold at those London Games.


Mexico 3, South Africa 0

Mexico took down South Africa 3-0 in a wild affair Wednesday that clinched a spot in the knockout round.

While the Mexicans were never really threatened, it wasn't a completely clean game for them as Carlos Rodriguez was handed a red card in the 66th minute. That came eight minutes after South Africa's Repo Melepe was sent off as well.

Ben Steiner of CBC Olympics made note of the action-packed encounter:

Ben Steiner @BenSteiner00

SOCCER: The men's soccer match between 🇲🇽Mexico and 🇿🇦South Africa has been nothing short of crazy. <br><br>Mexico doing their best to give South Africa a good dose of Concacaf. <br><br>Mexico leads 3-0. Both teams have 10 men on the pitch. <br><br>Crazy stuff. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Soccer?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Soccer</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a>

By the time the red cards were given out, Mexico already had the match firmly in hand. It led 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals by Alexis Vega and Luis Romo, and Henry Martin added a third in the 60th minute.

While Mexico did lose to Japan in group play, it managed wins over both France and South Africa, and the squad enters the knockout stage with momentum on its side.

Mexico has only one Olympic medal in men's soccer, but it was gold in 2012, and are a threat to top the podium again.

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