France, Argentina suffer shock defeats, Brazil win

    Brazil’s Richardson celebrates scoring the third goal and completing his hat-trick with Matheus Cun against Germany. Photo: Reuters

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    Brazil’s Richardson celebrates scoring the third goal and completing his hat-trick with Matheus Cun against Germany. Photo: Reuters

    France’s men’s soccer campaign started with a terrible start when they lost 4-1 to Mexico, while Argentina was shocked by a 2-0 loss to Australia as the group stage began on Thursday. Brazil striker Richarlison scored the first hatrik of the men’s tournament as the champions slowly defended the rally from Germany with a 4-2 victory at the Yokohama International Stadium.

    The hosts of Japan made a winning start thanks to a slow strike by midfielder Takefusa Kubo in a 1-0 win over South Africa, who were facing COVID-19 on the eve of the Group A match.

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    Mexico’s Alexis Vega celebrates by scoring his first goal against France. Photo: Reuters

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    Mexico’s Alexis Vega celebrates by scoring his first goal against France. Photo: Reuters

    It was a day to forget Sylvain Ripoll’s France that collapsed in the second half when Alexis Vega, Sebastian Cordova, Uriel Antuna and Erick Aguirre arrived in Mexico at the Tokyo Stadium.

    France, chasing its first Olympic medal since winning gold in 1984, now face a daunting task of qualifying for Group A ahead of the games against South Africa and hosting Japan.

    “The first thing we need to do now is digest this frustration,” Ripoll said. “We only have two days. There is no time to lose.”

    Australian Lachlan Wales celebrates scoring his first goal with teammates against Argentina. Photo: Reuters

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    Australian Lachlan Wales celebrates scoring his first goal with teammates against Argentina. Photo: Reuters

    In their first Olympic campaign from Beijing in 2008, Australia took a two-time lead over Argentina in 14 minutes when wing Lachlan Wales scored from close range.

    Argentina’s problems worsened at the end of the first half when Francisco Ortega left behind after two yellow cards.

    The South American team never recovered from the upset, as substitute Marco Tilio added a second for Olyroos in the 80th minute to seal an unforgettable victory.

    Spain, the last European men’s team to claim gold in 1992, also stood in the opening race as they dominated the occupation, but created few opportunities in a deadlock with Egypt in Sapporo.

    Along with the young player of the Pedri Euro 2020 tournament, Spain had five other players who appeared in the senior team run until the semifinals this month.

    They came closest to scoring when Dani Ceballos hit the post before the Real Madrid player entered the basket with his back to Oscar Mingueza on the sidelines due to injury.

    “We will have to wait and see how both players develop and how their injuries develop,” said Spain coach Luis de la Fuente. “It does not look good if the truth is told.”

    Elsewhere in Group D, Frank Casey scored the winner to beat Cτοte d’Ivoire 2-1 in a warm-up game over Saudi Arabia in Yokohama, with the sides committing 27 fouls.

    The African nation was reduced to 10 men when Deputy Aboubacar Doumbia showed a red flag for his participation in a battle.

    In Group B, Burnley striker Chris Wood slowly scored to help New Zealand beat South Korea 1-0 in Kasima – winning the Kivas their first victory in Olympic men’s football.

    Having their first football appearance since the 1964 Tokyo Games, Romania beat Honduras 1-0 thanks to their own goal by Elvin Oliva.

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