Ivory Coast held Germany 1-1 in the last Group D showdown on Wednesday to knock out the 2016 silver medals and qualify for the quarterfinals of the Olympics, equating to their best performance so far at the Games. Egypt also advanced with a 2-0 win over Australia and overtook Argentina on goal differences to reach knockouts, but South Africa lost three of the three to crash.
Elsewhere, Zambia’s women’s teams were grateful for their Olympic feats despite Tuesday’s elimination, as the Netherlands returned 10-3 to three times to keep China at 4-4 before losing 1-0 to mighty Brazil in the final match.
Ivory Coast eliminates Germany
After taking four points in the opening two games, Côte d’Ivoire had to avoid defeat against Germany’s Stefan Kuntz in order to advance. In the first half, the stronger side was Germany, which had to force the problem after difficulties in the opening matches, Ragnar Ache shot towards the crossbar, and Marco Richter approached several times.
However, the Elephants also drew attention to their threat as Christian Kouame left late in the first half when he should have hit the target. Then Soualiha Haidare’s team opened the middle of the second half when Max-Alain Gradel – who was so impressive against Brazil – shot on a throw from Wilfried Singh and Benjamin Henrichs, caught by Kouame’s touch and slippery conditions, turned the ball over Florian Muller in your network.
However, their advantage was short-lived as Eduard Lowen beat Eliezer Ira Tape in the 73rd minute with an excellent free kick – with a hard effort in the right corner of the net after Eric Bailly broke Max Kruse.
– Football and Olympic Games for men
– Stream ESPN FC to ESPN + (US only)
– You don’t have ESPN? Immediate access
This was the first look at the quality that Germany only hinted at during these games, as Brazil sent them 4-2 in the rematch of the 2016 final before narrowly beating Saudi Arabia 3-2 on Saturday.
Germany cautiously returned the wind in the final stages as they sought an equalizer, but the Elephants held on to incredible progress and prepared a meeting with Group C winners Spain on Saturday on the Rif. “We have a sense of pride because no one expected us to reach that level compared to the group we had,” Gradel told FIFA.com. “The real feat is escaping this group.”
Côte d’Ivoire qualified for the quarter-finals at the 2008 Games in China, when they were eventually defeated by Nigeria, but will hope to do better against an experienced Spain.
Egypt on the edge of Argentina in a close conclusion
On the Rif, Egypt secured a place in the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Australia, as Ahmed Rayan and Amar Hamdy hit the pharaohs in the knockout in each half.
Australia, which failed to build on its opening victory over Argentina, was surprisingly lethargic from the start and ceded possession to the Egyptian side, which was resourceful, lively and technically better than its opponents.
The North Africans made good use of their introduction, which came after a wonderful innovation of the Premier League flop (along with Stoke City) by Ramadan Sobhi. A player of the U23 Nations Cup tournament in Africa lifted the ball to the left, played a sharp double, received the ball into space, cut past the defender and sent a lavish pass to Rayan to play. at home just before halftime.
Egypt should have extended their lead in the second half as Sobhi recklessly fired from close range – a memory of the missed concentrations that so marked his career – after Hamdy’s efforts hit the wood.
Manchester City’s Daniel Arzani and Kenya-born Thomas Deng came close to the Olyroos in the final ten minutes before Hamdy took advantage of a goalkeeper’s mistake after Tom Glover shot Sobhi’s shot in the way.
Despite being tied with four points each, with the victory of the Pharaohs, they skipped Argentina to the goal and prepared a match with Brazil on Saturday. “Right at the start of the competition, our goal was to qualify for the quarterfinals and we succeeded,” influential goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy told reporters. “We entered this game knowing there was no choice but to win. With a good performance we managed to get to the win and I think the players will focus heavily on what we have achieved for the next game.”
Egypt has qualified for the men’s football tournament more times than any other African country – these are their 15th games – and with a quarter-final triumph it could be at least equal to its best so far: fourth-placed in 1928 and 1964.
Without victory, South Africa will not impress
The African men’s teams at the Olympics were not a clean move, as the Republic of South Africa – against it after successive defeats in the opening matches – was sent by Mexico 3-0 to Sapporo Dome.
Amaglug-glug knew they needed an unlikely improvement in assets after Japan’s win over France and the fluctuating gap between the four goals to advance, but their encouraging introductory stages quickly made up for defensive falls.
Alexis Vega and Luis Romo hit in the first half to leave SA on the edge, and their distress worsened when VAR in the 56th minute ruled Tercious Malepe’s foul on Henry Martin was a red card foul.
Three minutes later, Martin added a third and also a red card from Carlos Rodriguez shortly afterwards could not allow South Africa a way back into the match.
Zambian women promise to return stronger
In the women’s competition, Zambia’s Olympic football journey ended on Tuesday, as they were defeated 1-0 by Brazil in Saitama.
It was a train journey to Copper Queens, which the Netherlands erased in their opener with 10: 3 – a record state defeat – and then kept China 4-4 in an exciting second clash. There was no shame in Tuesday’s close defeat against Brazil, which ranked seventh in the world, especially after Zambia were reduced to 10 players in the 13th minute after a sharp red card by Lushomo Mweembi.
However, their performances in Japan have earned recognition from the country’s highest office, as President Edgar Lungu praised the players on Instagram.
“It was a great performance at the Olympics of our copper queens,” he wrote on Instagram. “Despite the fact that they paid tribute to the tournament, there is a lot of positive among the young women. One word describes their performance. [vs. Brazil] is resistance. Despite a red card and a serious injury to our goalkeeper, the girls are still resilient against a strong opponent. You are the quintessence of hard work that is the true Zambian spirit. You held your chin against the best in the world. You are alone on a global scale, bravo girls. You have represented your country and continent well and we are proud of you. “
Zambian striker Barbra Banda earned wide praise during the competition as she set the back-t0-back net tricks against the Netherlands and China in the same Olympic record for goals scored in one edition of the tournament. [later broken by Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema.]
While fellow striker Racheal Kundananji has vowed that this young Zambian team will return stronger and that it is working to succeed in the African Women’s Cup in Morocco next year. “We just want to go to AWCON and come back with a trophy,” the Zambian FA said. “We have to show them that we are the best, that we are not losers and that we have been [in Japan] because we were champions. “
If they can ride the crest of this wave, it would be fun to watch.