Sport Tokyo Olympics: Gignac hat-trick helps deny South Africa as Spain end 21-year wait
Here's when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics finally gets underway this summer
Here's when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics finally gets underway this summerThe news comes as a welcome boost to athletes and broadcasters after the Covid pandemic led to the initial postponement of Tokyo 2020 last year.
France got the better of South Africa in a seven-goal thriller as Andre-Pierre Gignac's hat-trick inspired Les Bleus to a 4-3 victory at the Tokyo Olympics.
Having been thrashed 4-1 by Mexico in their opening game of Group A, France hit back to keep their chances of progression alive, though they had to do so the hard way in Saitama.
Indeed, South Africa led on three occasions during a remarkable second half, yet it was Les Bleus who took the points.
Liberato Cacace's stunner was not enough to propel New Zealand to victory against Honduras in Group B, while reigning champions Brazil could only draw 0-0 with the Ivory Coast and Spain overcame Australia thanks to Mikel Oyarzabal's late winner.
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GIGNAC AND SAVANIER SETTLE THRILLER
France were on the wrong end of conceding four last time out, and though they still let three in this time around, Teji Savanier's stoppage-time goal saw them clinch victory.
It was 35-year-old Gignac who had previously dragged France level on three occasions – a close-range finish followed by a thumping header before the Tigres striker, the leading scorer in the competition, converted his second penalty of the tournament to cancel out Teboho Mokoena's glorious 81st-minute strike.
Luther Singh had missed a first-half penalty for South Africa, with Kobamelo Kodisang and Evidence Makgopa also getting on the scoresheet.
But Gignac's efforts set the stage for France to nose themselves ahead when Montpellier's experienced Savanier lashed home, sending South Africa out in the process.
Thauvin World Champion, Gignac Sex
Florian Thauvin and André-Pierre Gignac will play the Olympics with the France football team. If one is world champion, the other is not. © Provided by Football 365 Thauvin, World Champion 2018 , the Tokyo Olympics started this Wednesday, July 21st. For the France football team, the first deadline is set Thursday with a first game of Poule against Mexico (10h).
France sit third in Group A, three points behind leaders Japan, who survived a late scare to beat Mexico 2-1.
.repart avec le ballon du match !
— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance)
Video: Stoppage-time, halfway-line stunner in Ireland! (Sky Sports)
ALL WHITES LET LEAD SLIP
Cacace's exceptional strike put New Zealand ahead after just 10 minutes in Kashima – the defender picking out the top-right corner with a first-time effort from 30 yards out.
Luis Palma restored parity in first-half stoppage time, yet Chris Wood carried on his scoring form to put New Zealand back in front just after the restart.
Yet substitutes proved the difference for Honduras. Juan Obregon netted with 12 minutes remaining, paving the way for Rigoberto Rivas to clinch the comeback victory.
Matters were much more simple for South Korea, as they cruised to a 4-0 triumph against Romania, meaning all four Group B teams are on four points heading into the final matchday.
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OYARZABAL RECORDS LONG-AWAITED SPAIN WIN
Spain secured their first win at an Olympic Games since 2000 thanks to Oyarzabal's header against Australia, which came with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
The 24-year-old Real Sociedad winger – who played a pivotal role in Spain's run to the semi-finals at Euro 2020 – has put La Roja top of Group C heading into Wednesday's encounter with Argentina, who beat Egypt.
Spain, who drew with Egypt in their opener, won gold in 1992 and silver in 2000, but had only qualified once since then, but they failed to score across their three appearances in the 2012 London Games.
1 -— OptaJose (@OptaJose) first win at . The last victory in a tournament football was 21 years ago, 3-1 in semi-finals against EEUU at (3-1). History.
CHAMPIONS HELD AS GERMANY BOUNCE BACK
Brazil sparkled in their 4-2 win over Germany on matchday one, though they could not find a way past the Ivory Coast, who held them to a 0-0 draw in Group D.
Douglas Luiz was sent off early on for Brazil, who missed a last-gasp chance to seal qualification through substitute Malcom after the Ivory Coast had also been reduced to 10 men.
Meanwhile, Germany recovered from their defeat on matchday one to beat Saudi Arabia 3-2 – Felix Uduokhai netting the decisive goal in the 75th minute.
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The Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 are available to watch live via BBC One every day, with coverage starting at midnight and running to about 9pm © The Tokyo Olympic Games are now underway (Composite: Mark Hall/JPI Media) The Tokyo Olympics 2020 are fully underway after a year-long postponement in the wake of the pandemic.The opening ceremony officially kicked things off last Friday (23 July), and Team GB have gone from strength-to-strength since, winning myriad medals for the country.