Men's Olympic Football Tournament: which nations have qualified for Tokyo 2020?
Mexico and Honduras meet in the final of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament on Tuesday having qualified for Tokyo along with 14 other countries.
A place at the Tokyo Olympics was at stake as Honduras U23s took on United States U23s in the first semi-final of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship on Sunday.
The two finalists in the competition qualify for the men’s football tournament at the Olympics, due to take place in July and August after being postponed from summer 2020 due to the coronavirus.
The US progressed from the first round to the semi-finals after finishing second to Mexico in Group A, while Honduras topped Group B ahead of Canada.
Both Mexico and the United States were the pre-tournament favourites to progress to Tokyo.
Hondurans end USA dream
Honduras booked a place in Tokyo with a convincing 2-1 win over the United States, who haven’t reached the men’s side of Olympic Football since Beijing 2008. The Central American nation qualify for a fourth consecutive time after edging the USA in the Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament semi-final on Sunday.
Juan Carlos Obregon Jr put Los Catrachos in front right before the half-time whistle, scrambling the ball over the line with his knee.
Luis Palma doubled the Hondurans' lead right on the other side of the break. The midfielder pounced on a slow clearance from his former club team-mate at Real Monarchs, US keeper David Ochoa, and his block ricocheted directly into the goal.
Jackson Yueill pulled a goal back for the US five minutes later with a superb strike, a thunderbolt into the top corner from over 20 yards out, but it wasn't enough for the Stars and Stripes, who miss out on the Olympics for the third consecutive time.
🎙️ “We are devastated, the locker room is a tragedy. We all wanted to achieve the goal but at the end of the day, I think we did not have much.” 🇺🇸 @USYNT ’s Head coach Jason Kreis coach.— Concacaf (@Concacaf) March 29, 2021
🏅 #CMOQ pic.twitter.com/acQmuYDMlX
Mexico defeat Canada
Later in the matchday, Mexico completed the 16-nation men's tournament field for Tokyo 2020 with a 2-0 win over Canada.
Uriel Antuna scored on 57 minutes taking advantage of a misplaced pass in defence with Carlos Rodriguez providing the assist. Eight minutes later the result was assured with a thumping header from Johan Vasquez eventually going in.
Tokyo 2020 will be a third successive appearance for Mexico who were gold medal winners at London 2012.
16 sides to compete at Olympic Games
The two Concacaf representatives will complete the 16 team roster of sides who will battle it out this summer in Tokyo with a gold medal the key objective.
The Honduras side has qualified for the last three Olympic Games. Los Catrachos finished fourth at Rio 2016, falling to host nation Brazil in the semi-finals. The bulk of the Honduras U23 play their football domestically with a handful of exceptions.
Mexico and Honduras meet in CONCACAF final
"We have a feeling of great happiness for having reached our first objective of qualifying for the Olympics,” said Honduras coach Miguel Falero after the game. "I have to thank my players for all of the effort and work they put in on the pitch throughout our games. We have every reason to feel a great pride in this group of players."
Mexico and Honduras will now meet in the final of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament on Tuesday at the Estadio Akron in Zapopan. Regardless of the winner of that game, both can begin to dream of the Olympic journey ahead as they officially round out the field of 16 nations who will compete in Tokyo.
Which football nations have qualified for Tokyo Olympics?
The CONCACAF qualifiers will join Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Japan, New Zealand, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Spain. Honduras and Mexico make up the last two places after their impressive victories over the weekend.
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