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Tokyo Olympics – Mexico v Japan: Men’s bronze medal match LIVE


Mexico – Japan


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44′ – The balance of play is more even now, but Mexico look as likely to score a third as Japan do a first.

42 – Endo gets away from Sanchez, who’s too strong for him, leaning across to pike the ball out of play, with a hand to the back ushering his unfortunate opponent to the deck. He’s booked, but that looked a fair challenge to me.

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40′ – Mexico counter down the left with Cordova, who crosses to the back post where Lainez lurks. I don’t think Nakayama notices, but there’s just too much pop on the ball and it runs behind.

38′ – Nakayama is a decent outlet for Japan and he sticks in another decent cross, but Kubo’s first touch is off so the ball won’t sit down for him to shoot and Mexico crowd him and his mtaes out.

36′ – Nakayama finds some space down the left and arcs a decent cross seeking Hayashi, but Vasquez is up earlier and higher to clear.

35′ – Tanakan humps a long cross towards the back post, where Angulo does just enough before collapsing holding his heed. He’s fine and play proceeds.

33′ – More Mexico possession. Japan are struggling to get to the ball first.

32′ – This has been near-perfection from Mexico so far.

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31′ – Hayashi picks up possession 25 yards from goal and tries a snap shot which skids a few yards wide.

30′ –

28′ – Kubo whips towards the near post, looking for the slightest touch, but Montes is there to head behind, with Ochoa also on-hand if required. The corner comes to nowt.

27′ – Vasquez swings a left leg across his own right to clatter Sakai, on the burst past him towards the line. He’s booked, and Japan have a chance to stick a ball into the box.

26′ – Kubo nips towards the box and pokes into Endo who opens his body and passes a low curler … just wide. He is having a day.

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22′ – GOAL! Mexico 2-0 Japan (Vasquez)

Redemption! Sent off against Japan in the group stages, the Mexico skipper steals away from poor old Endo to reach Cordova’s terrific cross and plant a fine stooping header across Tani and into the side-netting! Mexico are on absolute flames!

24′ – I’ve not a clue how Japan get out of this. Mexico are on one and they’re struggling to cope.

22′ – GOAL! Mexico 2-0 Japan (Vasquez)

Redemption! Sent off against Japan in the group stages, the Mexico skipper steals away from poor old Endo to reach Cordova’s terrific cross and plant a fine stooping header across Tani and into the side-netting! Mexico are on absolute flames!

21′ – Mexico win a free-kick down the left, 35 yards out…

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20′ – Vega finds Vasquez who dives a shot into the nearest legs to win a corner … then the flag goes up for offside against Martin. If I’ve understood the law changes correctly, we’re seeing the last of that – next season, decisions will be made and confirmed which makes sense because keepers were flying to make saves they didn’t need to.

19′ – Ochoa needs some treatment and while he receives it Endo is booked for the challenge. That seems harsh; it never rains.

17′ – Now we’re talking! Endo, desperate to atone for his earlier error, weaves towards the box and plays a hard, clever pass into Hayashi then runs off the back of it, collecting the return backheel … but Ochoa is out quickly and well to smother. Much better from the hosts.

16′ – But Japan have some of the ball now, moving it through midfield, before Soma looks to spread to Nakayama down the left and puts too much on the pass.

15′ – Mexico have had 58% of the possession, but I’d imagine that most of Japan’s 42% has been deep inside their own half, so those figures don’t reflect the true balance of play.

13′ – GOAL! Mexico 1-0 Japan (Cordova pen)

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Tani dives right and the left-footed Cordova opens his body to roll the other way. Japan are in trouble because Mexico can now keep the ball and wait for openings.

12′ – There’s going to be a VAR check to confirm the foul was inside the box – our commentator thought not but I thought so, for what that’s worth.

11′ – Vega picks and bundles past Endo on the left, right by the corner of the box, and flings himself into the box right as Endo administers the foul … AND THAT’S A PENALTY! That’s brilliant from Vega because Endo was sure he’d only concede a free-kick, but the power and dynamism of the dive got him what he was after.

10′ – Mexico are very nicely technical, in midfield especially, and are imposing their game on Japan who don’t have the players to stop them. But they lack a bit of edge, so I’m expecting a low-scoring game and, let’s be real, extra-time and penalties.

8′ – Endo struts forward and allowed plenty of space he shows why, wellying a shot nowhere near anywhere.

7′ – We zoom in on Kubo, and our commentators note that the Japanese public are waiting for him to explode. He scored an amazing goal in the first game and has generally looked lively, so hopefully he can go from here.

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5′ – Mexico have started the better, keeping the ball nicely.

3′ – Lainez picks up possession 25 yards out, right-hand side, nips inside, and drags a left-footer towards the near post, but Tomiyasu extends a leg and the ball shoots behind for a corner which comes to nowt.

2′ – I’ve not seen much of Japan so I’m really looking forward to seeing how Kubo gets on. He didn’t do brilliantly at Villarreal or Getafe but he’s got a lot of skill and at 20, still has plenty of time to make it at real Madrid.

1′ – And away we go! For those of you watching in black and white, Mexico are in green and Japan in white.

Out they come

Anthem time. Mexico’s is a nice, jaunty little number.

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The sides

Have already played once in this competition – Japan won 2-1, Mexico’s goal the one of only two they’ve conceded in this competition. But Mexico only lost to Brazil on penalties following a 0-0 draw, so they know what they’re about too.

Neither of these sides

Will want to leave with nowt, so this should be a decent little tussle.


Japan: Kosei; Hiroki, Yoshida, Nakayama, Tomiyasu; Endo, Kubo, Doan, Soma, Tanaka; Hayashi. Subs: Osako, Itakura, Miyoshi, Maeda, Mitoma, Hatate, Ueda.


Let’s look at the teams…


Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of Mexico v Japan – aka the battle for bronze.

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