Mexico Destroys France in Tokyo Olympics Men’s Soccer Group A Opener

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(Photo : Dan Mullan/Getty Images) CHOFU, JAPAN – JULY 22: Uriel Antuna #15 of Team Mexico runs with the ball during the Men’s First Round Group A match between Mexico and France during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.

Mexico opened its Tokyo Olympics men’s soccer campaign emphatically, thrashing France 4-1 in their Group A match on Thursday. Alexis Vega, Sebastian Cordova, Uriel Antuna, and Eduardo Aguirre scored the goals for the Mexicans, who turned things around in the second half after a goalless opening period.

Mexico was the favorite entering this contest as France headed into this match with a depleted side. Kylian Mbappe, Eduardo Camavinga, Houssem Aouar, and Amine Gouiri were not permitted by their respective clubs to travel to Tokyo for the tournament, affecting France’s gold medal aspirations.

That being said, Mexico could not break down a stubborn France defense in the game’s opening 45 minutes. Alexis Vega came close to breaking the deadlock in the 17th minute, but his effort was cleared off the line by France’s Madibo Sagnan after some brilliant work by Diego Lainez.

Mexico deals crushing blow with spectacular second half performance

Mexico went on the attack immediately after the half-time break and was instantly rewarded in the 47th minute, with Vega and Lainez combining yet again. Lainez started the offensive sequence with a marvelous 40-yard run into France’s penalty area before delivering a perfect cross into Vega, who scored with a powerful header to give Mexico a 1-0 advantage.

Vega almost scored again minutes after, but French goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni denied his effort. The Mexicans managed to double their lead in the 55th minute, with Sebastian Cordova finding the back of the net after finding some space on the left.

After two goals, France decided to make some changes, introducing Alexis Beka Beka and Randal Kolo Muani into the contest. That decision soon paid dividends as the pair combined to get a penalty for France. Beka Beka delivered a perfect pass for Kolo Muani, who was then fouled inside the box by Cesar Montes.

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Mexican substitutes seal the win for manager Jaime Lozano 

Andre-Pierre Gignac, one of France’s designated overage players, made no mistake with his spot kick to cut the deficit to 2-1. The rally was short-lived though, as Mexico turned the screws once again in the latter stages of the second half with manager Jaime Lozano bringing in attack-minded substitutes.

That proved to be the right call as substitutes Uriel Antuna and Eduardo Aguirre rewarded their manager’s faith with goals in the final 10 minutes to seal the convincing win for Mexico. Aguirre’s goal in second half injury time was a thing of beauty as he dinked around the French defense before unleashing a powerful attempt into the right-hand corner of the net.

Both teams will return to action this coming Sunday, with Mexico taking on host nation Japan and France squaring off with South Africa.

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