By Chris King • 03 August 2021 • 18:26
Spain have beaten Japan 1-0 after extra time in their Tokyo semi-final to reach their Olympic football final since 2000
Spain are in the final of the men’s football tournament in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but only after Luis de la Fuente‘s men were taken to an extra 30 minutes by a gritty Japanese team who clearly did not want to lose in their home Games, in the Saitama Stadium, earlier this morning, Tuesday, August 3.
It took a goal from Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio – who came off the bench as a sub – in the 115th minute, showing once again the lack of firepower that this Spanish team suffers from in big tournaments, although to be fair to Japan, they defended admirably throughout the game.
Rafa Mir, their substitute hat-trick hero of the previous match against Ivory Coast was preferred to lead the line in this match, and he came close early on as he was played through by Oyarzabal, and went into a one-on-one with the Japanese keeper, Tani, only to see his shot blocked.
At one point, Japan had the Spanish confined to their own box, but they simply didn’t look to be able to put the ball in the net, as Unai Simon dealt with it all with ease, but on the break, they really struggled setting Mir free, as the clock ticked down.
A foul by Yoshida on Mikel Merino looked like a clear penalty, but VAR decided otherwise, with the referee Ortega even giving the foul to Japan!
Luis de la Fuente rolled the dice and brought on Carlos Soler and Javi Puado, along with Asensio, but it took until that 115th minute to finally break the deadlock, and now Spain will meet reigning Olympic champions, Brazil in Sunday’s final, after they beat Mexico on penalties in the other semi-final, and it remains to be seen if Spain can emulate the 1992 team who won the gold in Barcelona.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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