Sports Is Mexico best soccer team at 2021 Olympics? Cordova, Martin say bring on Brazil in semifinal
Chasing Gold: The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony is finally here ... almost. What do we know?
The Tokyo Olympics officially begin Friday with the opening ceremony, the details of which still largely remain a mystery.Early birds can watch the event live at 6:55 a.m. ET on NBC, but anyone who doesn't want to wake up with the sun can watch a tape-delayed version at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Brazil beware. There is no team at the men's Olympic soccer tournament that has looked as strong and played as consistently well as Mexico.
And that's not hyperbole. Saturday's comprehensive 6-3 quarterfinal win over South Korea is the latest evidence that El Tri is a legitimate contender for the gold medal in Tokyo. The Mexicans are only two games away from it, with Brazil coming up next in Tuesday's semifinal (4 a.m. ET).
Club America teammates Henry Martin and Sebastian Cordova scored two goals each, and Luis Romo and Eduardo Aguirre had the other two, as Mexico ran its tournament-leading goals total to 14. With two games still to play, that's already better than the number of goals it scored on its run to a gold medal in 2012.
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Simone Biles will lead the way for the Americans with five golds in our projection, which has Team USA winning 133 medals, its most since 1984.That total estimate would be the greatest number of medals earned by the U.S. since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when the host nation raked in 174. Fifty-nine gold medals would be the U.S.’s best since earning 83 in Los Angeles. The U.S. ranked No. 1 in total medals and gold medals for the past two consecutive Summer Olympics in Rio (121 total, 46 gold) and London (104 total, 46 gold).
Past the names on the scoresheet, there isn't a Mexican player who can be called out for having a poor game, although there are a handful of plays they'd definitely want back. Take the yellow card picked up by influential fullback Jorge Sanchez with 14 minutes left in the game and the result well in hand. It will force one of Mexico's best players at the Olympics to sit out the semifinal due to suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Playing without midfield fulcrum Carlos "Charly" Rodriguez, Mexico's attack still managed to flow with winger Alexis Vega and creative midfielder Cordova conducting the attack. Martin was again rewarded for his selfless, hard-nosed play as the lone forward, and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa came up with big, timely stops behind a classy quartet of defenders who, despite the three goals allowed, were generally as effective defending as their attacking teammates were in finding the net.
Olympic swimming live results, updates, highlights from Day 2 at 2021 Tokyo Games
Sporting News is tracking live updates and highlights from every swimming event at the 2021 Olympics. Follow for complete results from Sunday's races in Tokyo.United States star swimmer Katie Ledecky will be competing in the women's 400-meter freestyle, but this year it won't be a given that she's taking home the gold. Australia's Ariarne Titmus has been the fastest swimmer in the world in the event in 2021. Even with Ledecky posting the faster time in the prelims, this race could go to either swimmer.
The final result was also partly amplified by the fact that every bounce went Mexico's way: a blatantly ridiculous push in the box by a South Korean defender that led to a penalty, a big save by Ochoa just before halftime and a South Korean free kick that hit the top of the crossbar at 3-1. That shouldn't take away from an overall convincing Mexican performance. Here are the key takeaways from a memorable quarterfinal:
Mexico definitely got its overage players right
Each men's team at the 2021 Olympics has the option of taking three players over the age of 24, which is this year's age cutoff for all the other players on the roster. It's hard to argue that Mexico manager Jaime Lozano got his three selections right.
It starts with captain and goalkeeper Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa (36 years old), who had eight saves against South Korea, including closing down and blocking a thumping, close-range shot just before halftime with the score at 3-1. A goal there could have changed the momentum of the game. Ochoa's commanding presence is a big reason for the calm confidence that Mexico continues to exude.
Tokyo Olympics Full TV & Streaming Schedule: How To Watch Everything, Including The Women’s Swimming & Woman’s Gymnastics Team Finals – Updated
UPDATED with schedule changes: NBCUniversal is airing programming from the Tokyo Olympic Games across a wide swath of its broadcast, cable and digital properties, the programming schedules for which are constantly shifting this year. Deadline is updating this list daily from multiple official sources. See schedule below for full event listings. NBCU’s Peacock streaming service launched a Tokyo Olympics destination on July 15 that features extensive live coverage of some the Games’ biggest events including Gymnastics, Track and Field and the U.S.’s pursuit of its fourth straight gold medal in Men’s basketball.
Midfielder Luis Romo, at age 26, is in the prime of his career, and he was a big part of Cruz Azul's first Mexican league title in 23 years. He's equally impactful on this Mexico side, showing great soccer instincts when it comes to which spaces on the field to occupy. He was in the box to supply a header assist on the first goal, and his technique was world-class on this must-watch control and volley:
¡La bajó como crack y la definió con maestría ????!
⚽hace un golazo para marcar su segundo gol en
Síguelo EN VIVO por nuestra APP Telemundo Deportes ➡️— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) 1-2
That's a goal that 28-year-old forward Henry Martin (below) will never score. We saw his type of goals against South Korea: a header around the six-yard box and another header on a set piece in the box. They're the goals of a professional forward, who expertly plays the position with all the sacrificial runs, the hold-up play and the pressing work that is required.
Mexico make men’s soccer quarterfinals: Now it’s Olympic medal match or bust for El Tri
El Tri played a tidy 3-0 win in a professional performance against a weak South Africa side. Now that it's facing South Korea in the quarterfinals, the minimum expectation is that Mexico is playing in a medal match on August 6 or August 7.There’s a massive caveat to go with the overall positive impression: The win came against a hapless South Africa team that was poor at set pieces and poor defensively, with moments of bickering and finger pointing among the players. The South Africans rarely ever came close to being as goal-dangerous as they were in the previous outing against France, a match during which they held a 3-2 lead at one point.
He's often criticized for his play and goal-scoring output, but he's not the flashy brand of forward. Instead, he's the type of player you want on your team because he contributes even when he's not scoring.
Cordova finally stars for El Tri
With Carlos "Charly" Rodriguez serving a red-card suspension, it was critical for the 24-year-old midfielder Cordova to step up and take great responsibility on the ball, helping with the passing responsibilities and with keeping the team connected. He did that and more against South Korea, which is significant for a player who typically shows flashes of good plays, but rarely takes over a game.
In addition to leading the Mexican midfield in touches, successful passes and passing accuracy, he delivered two goals and an assist: a penalty conversion with his right foot, a stunning shot from outside the box with his left foot and a masterful free kick assist, also with his left. Here's the non-penalty goal for your enjoyment:
¡Le pegó con rencor al balón ????!
⚽marca su doblete con un zapatazo inalcanzable para el arquero
Síguelo EN VIVO por nuestra APP Telemundo Deportes ➡️2-5
Olympics swimming results: Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel shine as each win gold medals
Sporting News tracked live updates and highlights from every swimming event at the 2021 Olympics. Follow for complete results from Friday's races in Tokyo.Dressel started the night off by setting a world record in the 100-meter butterfly, finishing the race at 49.45 to top his previous world record mark of 49.50. Two events later, Ledecky won her second Olympic gold medal at this year's games and her seventh overall when she held off rival Australian Ariarne Titmus in the 800 freestyle, winning the race with a time of 8:12.57.— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports)
It was only 10 days ago that his club team, Mexico City's Club America, announced that Cordova would this year be wearing the No. 10 jersey worn by club legends and reserved for only the special attacking talents. Against South Korea, he put in a performance befitting a modern-day "No. 10," and he commemorated his new number by celebrating like one of the Club America and Mexican national team legends, Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
Sebastián Córdova (— Adictos al boxeo (@nikomexicano) ) aclarando el porqué de su festejo como el gran ídolo del y Cuauhtémoc Blanco ( )
These Olympics could be Cordova's coming out party on an international level. His performance led one Mexican national team legend, former"the player with the most upside among young Mexican players. Hopefully, he'll have options to come to Europe soon."
Brazil up next in semis
The semifinal against Brazil will be a rematch of the 2012 men's Olympic gold medal match, won by Mexico 2-1.
El Tri has a reputation for getting up for matches against Brazil and playing tough against the South American powers. Excluding the 2012 Olympic final (officially considered an Under-23 competition), in the last 15 times that the two senior national teams have faced off in official competition, the record is dead even at 7-7-1, though Brazil has won four of six single-elimination knockout matches.
Jack Todd: Here's to Canada's female athletes, inspirations to us all
Canada was done. Finished. A gone goose. The story was etched on the face of the great Christine Sinclair , surely at her last Olympiad. After her opening kick in the shootout was saved by Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara, Sinclair looked like doom. She stared at the turf, as though reliving every moment of one of the longest careers in international soccer, knowing full well that this was probably it, that she was going to bow out on a saved penalty kick in the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games. Her teammates had other ideas. First, Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence and Adriana Leon converted their kicks.
Mexico vs. Brazil (official competitions since 1996)
|1996||Mexico 2, Brazil 0||CONCACAF Gold Cup||Final|
|1997||Brazil 3, Mexico 2||Copa America||Group|
|1997||Brazil 3, Mexico 2||Confederations Cup||Group|
|1999||Brazil 2, Mexico 1||Copa America||Group|
|1999||Brazil 2, Mexico 0||Copa America||Semifinal|
|1999||Mexico 4, Brazil 3||Confederations Cup||Final|
|2001||Mexico 1, Brazil 0||Copa America||Group|
|2003||Mexico 1, Brazil 0||CONCACAF Gold Cup||Group|
|2003||Mexico 1, Brazil 0||CONCACAF Gold Cup||Final|
|2004||Brazil 4, Mexico 0||Copa America||Quarters|
|2005||Mexico 1, Brazil 0||Confederations Cup||Group|
|2007||Mexico 2, Brazil 0||Copa America||Group|
|2013||Brazil 2, Mexico 0||Confederations Cup||Group|
|2014||Mexico 0, Brazil 0||FIFA World Cup||Group|
|2018||Brazil 2, Mexico 0||FIFA World Cup||Rd. of 16|
One reporter broke out Mexico vs. Brazil in finals at any level, and Mexico is undefeated against the Selecao. Technically they're playing a semifinal at the 2021 Olympics, but it will definitely feel like a final.
???????? le ganó la final a ???????? en:
1996 Copa Oro (2-0)
1999 Confederaciones (4-3)
2003 Copa Oro (1-0)
2005 Mundial sub-17 (3-0)
2012 Juegos Olímpicos (2-1)
Contra Brasil !!!
¿¿Vendrá la sexta?? ????????????????????????— Alejandro de la Rosa (@adelarosa)
As if they needed any extra motivation, the Mexican team is using a comment made earlier in the tournament by Brazil veteran Dani Alves as a rallying cry. Although Alves probably meant it as a compliment in response to Mexico's tournament-opening 4-1 win against France, Alves was reported as saying that he'd love the chance to face Mexico in the Olympic final.
"Like Dani Alves said, he wanted us in the final,"after the win against South Korea. "So now he gets us right away [in a semifinal] and we'll see who ends up with the gold medal. Like we've been telling you from the beginning, we came here to win a medal and we're now close to one, but we still have the dream that it's going to be the gold."
Mexico is in fact guaranteed to play for a medal, whether it's the gold-medal match (semifinal winners) or the bronze-medal game (semifinal losers).
Martin was asked whether he's scared of Brazil, and he took the bait. It teed up this classic response that the Brazilians might peg on their bulletin board: "Afraid of Brazil? No, afraid of no one. Afraid of my mom, that's it."
???????? A Henry Martín, uno de los goleadores de México en, le preguntaron por la semi que se viene con Brasil ???????? y avisó que no le tienen miedo al vigente campeón olímpico.
???? En Londres 2012, el Tri le había ganado la final por la dorada al Scratch.— Diario Olé (@DiarioOle)
Olympics Latest: ROC volleyball avenges Rio loss vs. Brazil .
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic: ___ The Russian Olympic Committee men’s volleyball team avenged a semifinal loss to Brazil in the last Olympics by mounting a big rally in the third set to win their semifinal match in four sets. The ROC fought back from eight points down to win the crucial third set and then closed it out in the fourth in a matchup of the sport’s two biggest powerhouses. The Russians will play the winner of the France-Argentina semifinal on Saturday for the gold medal.