The opening day of the Olympic men's soccer tournament delivered two stunning results.
Brazil won the showcase fixture of the round over Germany. The Selecao hit three goals past the Germans in the first half but were pegged back to 3-2 with just five minutes remaining in the game. However, Bayer Leverkusen winger Paulinho struck in injury time to seal the victory.
Mexico knocked off another European power in France earlier on Thursday morning by way of a four-goal onslaught.
The performances from Brazil and Mexico put them firmly at the top of the gold-medal favorite discussion. The favorite title suits those two sides the best after Thursday, especially since Spain and Argentina dropped points as well in Group C.
Thursday Olympic Soccer Results
Men's Group A
Mexico 4, France 1
Japan 1, South Africa 0
Men's Group B
New Zealand 1, South Korea 0
Romania 1, Honduras 0
Men's Group C
Egypt 0, Spain 0
Australia 2, Argentina 0
Men's Group D
Ivory Coast 2, Saudi Arabia 1
Brazil 4, Germany 2
Brazil Handles Germany
Richarlison helped Brazil produce a first-half masterclass against one of the top European sides in the competition. The Everton man scored a hat-trick in 30 minutes to give the Selecao a comfortable advantage heading into the half.
According to Opta, Richarlison's three-goal performance was the first of its kind for a Premier League player at the under-23 Olympics tournament:
Brazil could have scored more goals in the opening 45 minutes, with Matheus Cunha's failure to score from the penalty spot the biggest missed opportunity.
The South American side faced a nervy finish after Nadiem Amiri and Ragnar Ache pulled back goals for Germany, but Paulinho's strike in second-half stoppage time secured the win.
Brazil should only get better from this point on since Germany was perceived as its toughest opposition in Group D.
Ivory Coast is next up in Brazil's gold-medal defense. If the Selecao win that match, they should finish with nine points since Saudi Arabia, their final opponent, is the weakest side in the group.
With the losses by other powers elsewhere, Brazil could be viewed as the favorite to win the gold medal. Mexico could make the strongest claim to be Brazil's top challenger based on Thursday's performances.
Mexico Upsets France
Mexico tied Brazil for the highest offensive output of any team in the men's soccer tournament. El Tri scored four second-half goals from Alexis Vega, Sebastian Cordova, Uriel Antuna and Eduardo Aguirre to breeze past France and move to the top of Group A.
Vega opened the scoring in the 47th minute, and Cordova followed eight minutes later.
France got back into the contest by way of an Andre-Pierre Gignac penalty in the 69th minute, but that was all Les Blues could manage before the North American side regained control in the scoring column through Antuna in the 80th minute. Aguirre finished the scoring in stoppage time.
El Tri totaled 14 shots (six on target) in the contest compared to nine from France (five on target). Mexico had the advantage in goal with 36-year-old Guillermo Ochoa between the sticks. He made four saves to limit the European side.
Thursday's results in Group A made life difficult for France to advance to the final eight. Mexico and Japan both have three points, and France sits at the bottom of the table with a minus-three goal differential.
With South Africa the next opponent on Les Bleus' schedule, they will be looking for a big win to not only improve their points tally but also to repair the damage done to the goal difference.
Mexico's clash with Japan on Sunday could be for a spot in the final eight if a victor emerges. A draw would open up room for France to come back and qualify with a victory over Japan in the final game.