The 2020 Tokyo Olympics group stage for men’s soccer is in the books, and some big names have been eliminated with France, Germany and Argentina all heading home after underwhelming showings in Japan. All three finished third in their four-team groups to fall just short of the knockout phases, but none of them truly merited to advance based on their showings over three games. The host nation are the only team to have won all three of their fixtures and look one of the strongest sides heading into the latter stages.
France 0, Japan 4 (Yokohama)
South Africa 0, Mexico 3 (Sapporo)
Romania 0, New Zealand 0 (Sapporo)
South Korea 6, Honduras 0 (Yokohama)
Australia 0, Egypt 2 (Rifu)
Spain 1, Argentina 1 (Saitama)
Saudi Arabia 1, Brazil 3 (Saitama)
Germany 1, Ivory Coast 1 (Rifu)
Farcical French (Group A): Japan’s 4-0 thrashing of the French confirmed a humiliating early exit for Les Bleus after their dramatic win over South Africa. Takefusa Kubo, Hiroki Sakai, Koji Miyoshi and Daizen Maeda all scored in Yokohama as the curtain came down on Sylvain Ripoll and his men. Kubo has scored once in each game so far while the Japanese have conceded just once for seven goals scored.
They are joined in the knockout rounds by Mexico after a 3-0 win over South Africa in Sapporo confirmed their safe passage after a narrow loss to the hosts in the second match. Alexis Vega added his second goal of the Olympics as Luis Romo and Henry Martin also struck under the Sapporo Dome.
Germans gutted (Group D): Another major nation heading home early are Germany after their 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast confirmed second place for the Africans behind Brazil. Eduard Lowen looked to have given Stefan Kuntz’s side hope after Benjamin Heinrichs’ own goal but there was to be no winner in Rifu and it was not enough for the 2016 silver medalists to advance.
The Brazilians ran out 3-1 winners over Saudi Arabia after being pegged back in Saitama with Richarlison adding to his hat-trick against Germany with a double to top the scoring charts with five goals so far. The Seleção also enjoyed Argentina’s exit in the following game at the 2002 FIFA World Cup venue after a 1-1 draw with Spain.
Argentine anti-climax (Group C): That draw was not enough for the South Americans who go home after Egypt’s 2-0 win over Australia secured them second spot. A 1-0 win over Egypt was not enough for the Argentines as the Egyptians advance with a better goal difference after a forgettable campaign which opened in defeat to the Olyroos. Spain topped the group by a single point but have drawn twice and won just once after entering with what was fancied as the strongest squad pre-tournament.
Honduran humiliation (Group B): Honduras, who kept the United States out of the Olympics in Concacaf qualifying, crashed out spectacularly as South Korea won 6-0 in Yokohama to hit double figures in just two games after an opening loss to New Zealand. Hwang Ui-jo hit a hat-trick as Lee Kang-in added to his tally as part of the rout that sends the Hondurans home after their heroic win over the OlyWhites in the second game. Romania finished third after scoring just once all tournament and New Zealand snuck into the knockout stage due to that goalless draw.