Olympic Soccer 2021: Brazil, Mexico Win QF Matches, Set Up Semifinal Clash

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

Brazil's Matheus Cunha, 9, celebrates scoring the opening goal against Egypt with teammates during a men's quarterfinal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Martin Mejia/Associated Press

The last two gold-medal winners of the Olympics men's soccer tournament won their respective quarterfinal matches on Saturday to set up a semifinal showdown.

Brazil and Mexico won in two different types of matches to produce a CONCACAF vs. CONMEBOL clash with a spot in the gold-medal match on the line. 

Brazil eked past Egypt with a lone goal from Matheus Cunha, while Mexico powered past South Korea and scored six in a nine-goal thriller. 

The Selecao and El Tri have been two of the best sides in Japan, and that should make the semifinal match one of the best events of the entire Summer Olympics. 

Japan and Spain won the other two quarterfinal matches. Spain scored three goals in extra time to get past the Ivory Coast. Japan knocked out New Zealand on penalties.


Men's Soccer Quarterfinal Results

Spain 5, Ivory Coast 2 (AET)

Japan 0, New Zealand 0 (Japan wins 4-2 on penalties)

Brazil 1, Egypt 0

Mexico 6, South Korea 3


Semifinal Schedule

Tuesday, August 3

Brazil vs. Mexico (4 a.m. ET, NBCSN)

Japan vs. Spain (7 a.m. ET, NBCSN)


Brazil 1, Egypt 0

Brazil continued its gold-medal defense with a victory over Egypt. 

The Brazilians did not score as freely as they did in the group stage, but they got the job done against the second-placed side from Group C.

Matheus Cunha delivered the breakthrough for the Selecao in the 37th minute from wide-open space at the top of the penalty area. 

Richarlison set up the Hertha Berlin player with an assist from the left side of the field. The Everton man found a pocket of space between two defenders to pick out Cunha for his second goal of the competition. 

Brazil's defense finished off the victory from that point on. The back four held the Egyptians to two shots on goal over 90 minutes. 

Egypt finished the tournament with two goals scored from four matches. Both of those tallies came in the group-stage finale against Australia. 

When Brazil won the gold on home soil in 2016, it recorded five consecutive clean sheets on the way to the gold-medal game. 

Brazil's defense in Japan has not been that strong, but it has two clean sheets in four matches and conceded on multiple occasions in a single game. 

The Brazilian back line will have to be organized to handle the threat of Mexico, who could not stop scoring against South Korea.


Mexico 6, South Korea 3

Mexico steamrolled South Korea in the highest-scoring men's soccer match of the Olympics. 

Henry Martin and Sebastian Cordova both bagged a brace for El Tri to move one win away from a guaranteed medal. 

Martin opened the scoring in the 12th minute, and he found the back of the net again in the 54th minute. 

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Mexico thought it gained enough separation late in the first half when Cordova knocked in a 39th-minute penalty kick.

South Korea battled back at the start of the second half through a 50th-minute strike from Lee Dong-Gyeong.

In the following 13 minutes, Martin and Cordova each scored their second goals to give El Tri a three-goal advantage.

Cordova's strike from distance rattled off the bar and dropped into the net. That strike seemed to finally break South Korea's spirits. 

Telemundo Deportes @TelemundoSports

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Eduardo Aguirre finished off Mexico's victory with an 84th-minute strike. South Korea scored late in second-half stoppage time, but that goal did not matter to the final result. 

Mexico last qualified for the men's semifinals in 2012, when it went on to beat Brazil in the gold-medal match at Wembley Stadium.