SPAIN have reached the semi-finals of the men’s Olympic football tournament where they will play hosts Japan
The Spanish men’s football team has reached the semi-finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, after a thrilling seven-goal encounter with the Ivory Coast in the Miyagi Stadium early this morning, Saturday, July 31, after the match went to extra time.
Eric Bailly had given the African team the lead after only ten minutes, with RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo equallising on 30 minutes, the game was looking destined for extra time when suddenly, in the 91st minute, Max-Alain Gradel, who plays for Turkish club, Sivasspor, put the ball in the Spain net, seemingly ending the Spanish participation in these Games.
In dramatic scenes, only one minute after entering the pitch, Wolves player, Rafa Mir, levelled the scores in the 93rd minute, to send the game to an extra 30 minutes, with Luis de la Fuente surely congratulating himself for that substitution move, as Mir became the star of the show, bagging himself a hat-trick in extra time.
Firstly, a 98th minute penalty from Mikel Oyarzabal put Spain ahead for the first time in this match, before Mir capped an incredible performance by netting two goals in the 117th, and 120th minutes, to see Spain reach the semi-final spot with a 5-2 victory.
With a squad containing top players from the national team that reached the semis of Euro 2020, Spain have to be up there with Brazil – who beat Egypt 1-0, to meet Mexico in the other semi-final – as favourites for the gold medal, but, their next match against hosts Japan will not be easy, even though they struggled through against New Zealand, winning 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw at the end of open play.
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