Olympics: Mexico beats France, Brazil baffles Germany in soccer kickoff

Olympics: Mexico beats France, Brazil baffles Germany in soccer kickoff
Mexico midfielder Sebastian Cordova (C) is lifted by teammates after scoring against France in a men's Group A match at the 2020 Summer Games on Thursday in Tokyo. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- Mexico knocked off France, a tournament favorite, and Brazil edged Germany as men's soccer action started for the 2020 Summer Games on Thursday in Japan.

Egypt tied tournament favorite Spain in the first game of the day at the Sapporo Dome in Sapporo. New Zealand beat Korea 1-0 in Kashima.


Mexico pulled off the most-surprising victory of the day, with four different players scoring in a 4-1 win over France in Group A. France's lone score came from a Andre-Pierre Gignac penalty kick in the 69th minute.

Mexican forward Diego Lainez sparked the first score when he dribbled into the right side of the box. Lainez escaped defenders and fired a cross about 6 yards from the net. Forward Alexis Vega ran in and headed a shot past France goalie Paul Bernardoni to finish the play in the 47th minute.

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Mexico doubled the lead in the 55th minute. Midfielder Carlos Rodriguez assisted that score.

Rodriguez recovered a loose ball past midfield to start the play. He then chipped a long ball toward the left corner flag. Midfielder Sebastian Cordova ran onto the pass. He used his first touch to rip a volley past Bernardoni from 12 yards out.

Gignac converted for France about 15 minutes later to make the score 2-1. Mexico's Uriel Antuna and Erick Aguirre each scored down the stretch to secure the victory. Vega assisted Antuna's score in the 80th minute. Aguirre scored the final goal in stoppage time.

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Later Thursday, Australia beat Argentina 2-0 at the Sapporo Dome. Romania beat Honduras 1-0 in Ibaraki. Host Japan also earned a 1-0 win over South Africa at Tokyo Stadium.

Forward Richarlison scored three first-half goals to lead Brazil to a 4-2 win over Germany on Thursday at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama. Winger Antony added Brazil's final score in stoppage time.

Forwards Nadiem Amiri and Ragnar Ache scored second-half goals for Germany, who played with just 10 men for the final 27 minutes due to a red card.

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Brazil, the defending Olympic champions, battle the Ivory Coast at 4:30 a.m. EDT Sunday in Yokohama. Egypt faces Argentina in the first game of Sunday's slate in Sapporo. New Zealand faces Honduras at 4 a.m. EDT Sunday in Ibaraki.

France battles South Africa at 4 a.m. EDT Sunday in Saitama. Spain faces Australia at 6:30 a.m. EDT Sunday in Sapporo. Romania faces Korea at 7 a.m. EDT Sunday in Ibaraki. Japan battles Mexico at 7 a.m. EDT Sunday in Saitama.

Germany faces Saudi Arabia in Sunday's final game at 7:30 a.m. EDT in Yokohama.

Rules for the men's tournament stipulate that each team must roster at least 20 players who are 23 years old or younger. Three players on each team are allowed to be older than 23. The United States Men's National Team did not qualify for the Olympics.

The Summer Games women's soccer tournament resumes Saturday. The United States Women's National Team entered as the favorites, but lost their first game 3-0 to Sweden on Wednesday in Tokyo. The women's tournament does not include age restrictions for players.

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France goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni can't stop a goal from Mexico forward Uriel Antuna (not seen) in a Men's Group A soccer match during the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games on July 22. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

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