Miyagi (Japan) (AFP) – Substitute Rafa Mir hit a hat-trick as Spain finally saw off Ivory Coast 5-2 in extra time in the Tokyo Olympics men’s football on Saturday to set up a semi-final with hosts Japan.
Brazil defeated Egypt 1-0 thanks to a first-half strike by Matheus Cunha and will play Mexico in the other last-four clash. Both matches are on Tuesday.
The Spaniards are one of the gold medal favourites after naming a strong squad featuring six members of the team that reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
But they suffered a major fright before reaching the last four at the pandemic-delayed Games, even if the scoreline suggested otherwise.
Spain were just minutes from going out when forward Max Gradel’s deflected strike made it 2-1 to the Ivorians in the 91st minute of normal time.
But the Spaniards responded almost immediately, Wolves forward Mir lashing in from close range to force extra time, just a minute after coming on.
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly then conceded a penalty for handball after the intervention of VAR, with Mikel Oyarzabal stroking the ball in for a 3-2 Spain lead in the 98th minute.
Mir struck twice in the dying minutes to put extra gloss on the scoreline and claim the match ball for himself.
Japan’s quarter-final with New Zealand was a far tighter affair with the score deadlocked at 0-0 after 120 cagey minutes. New Zealand had only two shots on target all match.
The hosts kept their nerve in the penalty shootout and the Kiwis missed twice from the spot, sending Japan through 4-2 on penalties.
Rampant Mexico stormed past South Korea 6-3 in a quarter-final goalfest to set up a date with Brazil, the reigning Olympic champions.
Henry Martin and Sebastian Cordova both scored twice for the Mexicans.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family