Olympic Soccer 2021: Brazil Beats Mexico on PKs, Gold-Medal Game vs. Spain Set

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 3, 2021

Brazil's Reinier celebrates after scoring the game winning goal during a penalty shootout in a men's soccer semifinal match against Mexico at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Kashima, Japan. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Andre Penner/Associated Press

The two favorites to win the men's soccer gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics needed penalties and extra time to set up a showdown in the championship match.

Brazil outlasted Mexico on penalty kicks in the first of two semifinal matches on Tuesday, and Spain used a curling strike from Marco Asensio in the second half of extra time to defeat Japan.

Brazil will be defending its first-place finish from five years ago, while Spain is attempting to become the first European side to win the Olympic men's soccer gold medal since it won in Barcelona in 1992.

Mexico and Japan will play for the bronze medal. El Tri will try to win its second medal in the last three Olympics after winning gold in 2012. Japan has one bronze medal in men's soccer from 1968, when it beat Mexico on home soil.

The gold-medal game between Brazil and Spain will take place on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN. The bronze-medal match is scheduled for Friday at 7 a.m. ET and will also be televised on NBCSN. 


Brazil 0, Mexico 0 (Brazil wins 4-1 on penalties) 

Brazil and Mexico combined to attempt 10 shots on goal over 120 minutes, but none of them beat Santos and Guillermo Ochoa.

In the penalty shootout, Santos vaulted himself into the hero role, as he allowed only one of Mexico's three penalty attempts to find the back of the net. 

FIFA.com @FIFAcom

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Dani Alves, Gabriel Martinelli, Bruno Guimaraes and Reinier all scored in the penalty shootout for the Selecao. Brazil shot first in PKs, which resulted in Mexico attempting just three spot-kicks.

Telemundo Deportes @TelemundoSports

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Eduardo Aguirre and Johan Vasquez both missed their attempts to start the penalty shootout for El Tri. Carlos Alberto Rodriguez was the only Mexican player to score in PKs.

Brazil comes into the final with a stellar defensive record, and the Selecao will now try to become the second South American nation to win back-to-back gold medals since Argentina.

Brazil's bitter rival Argentina captured first place at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. Great Britain (1908 and 1912), Uruguay (1924 and 1928) and Hungary (1964 and 1968) are the other nations to win consecutive golds in men's soccer.


Spain 1, Japan 0

Spain avoided penalties thanks to a brilliant strike from Asensio in the 115th minute.

Asensio scored on Spain's sixth shot on goal to advance the European country to its fourth-ever gold-medal match in men's soccer.

Telemundo Deportes @TelemundoSports

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Like Brazil, Spain's defense was hard to crack for 120 minutes. Japan placed one of its nine shot attempts on target to test Unai Simon.

Spain has allowed three goals during its five-match path to the gold-medal game. It let up two goals to Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals and one to Argentina in the Group C finale.

Asensio's goal was his first of the tournament for Spain. The 25-year-old is one of three overage players allowed on the roster for the under-23 tournament.

Spain last qualified for the Olympic final in 2000, when Samuel Eto'o and Cameroon beat it on penalties in Sydney.

The last Spanish team to win the gold medal did so on home soil in 1992 with a squad that featured current Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.