Spain laboured to a 1-0 extra-time win over hosts Japan to set up a final with Brazil and a shot at a second men’s Olympic football gold medal – a feat they first achieved in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics.
Although they dominated possession and had the bulk of the chances from early on, they struggled to translate that dominance into goals with Rafa Mir in particular snatching at chances.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers striker was drafted into the starting line-up for the first time this tournament thanks to a late hat-trick in the previous round against Ivory Coast.
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However, the man who he replaced in the XI – Marco Asensio – turned super-sub in the closing minutes of extra-time when he curled a shot into the bottom left corner after receiving Mikel Oyarzabal’s short pass with his back to goal.
Japan will now face the former on Friday in the bronze medal match, while Spain play the latter on Friday in the final.
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