Japan on the way to quarters
By defeating Mexico in the shock of Group A, the host country takes a serious option on the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Argentina, South Korea and Honduras are recovering, Brazil and Australia are slowing down.
Japan as a boss
Match of the contenders in Group A between two winning teams, one very convincing, the other more in pain. Magic of football, the roles are reversed. Thanks to a perfectly oiled strategy and an opponent remarkably studied by the Japan who quickly understood that by using the speed and love of spaces of the duo Ritsu Doan – Takefusa Kubo, and taking control of the middle with excellent pressing. The strategy was helped by a successful start to the match: Kubo’s opening scoring in the sixth on a cross from Doan, Doan’s penalty in the 12th.e after a foul by César Montes, the second in two games. The sequel therefore saw a Mexico struggling with construction, relying only on a few individual breakthroughs, in particular from Lainez, lacking support in front to truly threaten the Japanese rearguard and seeing any ambition to come back in the second period after the logical exclusion of Johan Vásquez . The mastery was Japanese, although the Mexico kept hope alive on a perfectly executed Alvarado set-piece, another late in the game forcing Tani to a good save. Thanks to this success, the Japan is off to a good start for the quarters, the Mexico will have to win against theSouth Africa to avoid any bad surprises.
South Korea reacts
By Baptiste Mourigal
After the disillusionment of entry against New Zealand, a reaction was expected from the South Korea in front of the Romania. And reaction, there was! Well helped by Romanians totally beside their subject, the South Koreans have largely imposed (4-0) to restore confidence and still believe in qualifying. Kim Hak-bum had decided to change some players in his starting XI by starting Lee Dong-jun in attack and Jeong Seung-won in the middle. The first city was very active throughout the duration of his presence on the ground while the second brought a little more offensively before leaving on injury. In construction, Lee Dong-gyeong was also valuable in place of Lee Kang-in. But above all, the South Korea has evolved in his attack pattern no longer focusing only on centering in the direction of Hwang Ui-jo hoping to see him recover the balls from the head or play as a pivot, which he does not know how to do. Even if this strategy allowed the opening of the score thanks to an against his camp. This change in mentality was noticeable in the second half, once the Romania reduced to ten and even more after the release of Hwang Ui-jo. Kim Hak-bum must therefore convince himself that his team knows how to play by circulating the ball, seeking depth and combining rather than playing long forward systematically. While taking into account that Hwang Ui-jo can fit into these patterns even if he has to regain his efficiency after missing three big chances. Note also the excellent performance of Kang Yoon-seong as left-back and also the strength of character of Lee Kang-in who scored a brace coming off the bench.
Australia without a solution
By Antoine Blanchet-Quérin
Graham Arnold had decided to keep the same starting XI against theSpain, the most difficult opponent in Group C, Europeans unable to score against theEgypt (0-0) for their entry into these Olympic Games when the Australians had done what was necessary in the face of Argentines (2-0). Facing theAlbiceleste, the Australian selection had found several solutions behind the defense, which was not so easy against a team spanish more better organized and having kept the foot on the ball. THE’Australia retreated minute by minute to such an extent that at the end of the first act, no shot was given to Unai Simón. You had to wait for Denis Genreau in the fifty-first minute for that. The first half of the Australians came down to Daniel Arzani, left side, to come rush into the surface of the Spanish goalkeeper, as the only viable solution for the yellows and greens. THE’Spain waited patiently, often came up against a well organized defensive sector in front of him like Nathaniel Atkinson very good in this exercise. The Roja did not let theAustralia, the pressure applied was enough to make them lose the ball quickly, then their moment came in the 81st minute on a header from Mikel Oyarzábal. Their position as leader of the group comes back to them when the Olyroos should at least take a point at Egyptians to continue the Olympic adventure.
Argentina is relaunching
Fallen in opening, theArgentina had no other choice but to win to regain some hopes of qualifying. To face theEgypt, Fernando Batista once again decided to do without Thiago Almada, his jewel – strongly the day someone will give us the real reason – and changed three men: Ortega for suspension reasons, but especially Valenzuela and Colombatto for profiles more players offered by Pedro de la Vega and Martín Payero. THE’Argentina therefore sought to take control of the possession, Gaich even found the post in the fourth minute, De la Fuente saw his shot flee the frame, but other than that, there was no great Argentinian vertigo. Worse, the rearguard was still often caught behind its back, with real concern in the corridors, and struggled to control Ramadan Sobhi, in all the right moves. 0-0 at the break but an unlocked counter at the start of a second after a corner and a cross (or shot?) From Alexis Mac Allister that Facundo Medina took back after the rebound on the post. The goal of the Lensois defender was going to be the only one of the game, because subsequently, theArgentina has not mastered much, especially trying to resist the sometimes too disorderly offensives of Pharaohs who obtained some good situations, often generated by Sobhi but were going to regret them as they deserved better in this match.
Honduras overthrows the OlyWhites
By Antoine Blanchet-Quérin
After the historic victory against the South Korea, New Zealand found himself within a one-qualifying victory. From the start, the OlyWhites lost Winston Rei, hit in the knee and whose injury announces the end of the competition. This first hard blow was erased by a monumental strike from Liberato Cacace after a corner kicked out of the area and a leather sent into the skylight of an Alex Güity reduced to the rank of spectator. And if the H then did everything to come back, achieving it for a time thanks to Luis Palma, Chris Wood, taking over a low cross from Elijah Just, allowed the OlyWhites to take the lead from the start of the second half. The feat seemed to be taking shape but the New Zealand scuttled completely on the second and third Honduran goal. A poor understanding first between George Stanger and Woud, leaving Juan Obregón all the time to adjust his foot against an empty goal, then, while the opposing pressure had intensified over the minutes, a small rebound from the balloon jumped over the gloves of the same Woud victim of a catastrophic evening. This seemingly innocuous shot by Rigoberto Rivas offered a success on the wire to the Catrachos who thus return to the race for qualification, the four teams now having the same number of points.
Elsewhere, note the crazy victory of the team of France, led by her Mexican, André-Pierre Gignac, author of a hat-trick and a decisive pass that allowed the Blues to save appearances in the face ofSouth Africa (the French were behind three times before winning in stoppage time). Note also the short defeat of theArabia saudi facing theGermany while the Brazil remained silent in front of the Ivory Coast.
Photo: imago images / AFLOSPORT