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Japan U23 vs Mexico U23 summary: score, goals, highlights, Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Soccer Football - Men - Group A - Japan v South Africa - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - July 22, 2021. Takefusa Kubo of Japan celebrates scoring their first goal with Ayase Ueda of Japan and Reo Hatate of Japan REUTERS/Edgar Su

Japan U23 vs Mexico U23: Tokyo 2020 live

We'll wrap up our live coverage of the Tokyo 2020 football competition here on the day Japan progressed with a solid first 45 minutes display and despite a late rally from El Tri, Mexico must beat South Africa in the final game of the competition to advance. Thanks for reading and catch you all soon.


Here's how Group A looks heading into the final fixture.

Japan are through and the second place will be a battle between France and Mexico

Next up in Group A:

Mexico vs South Africa

Japan vs France

Games to be played on 28 July

Japan advance to the next phase of the competition courtesy of two early first half goals through Kubo and Ritsu Doan (penalty).  Mexico were awarded a late life-line through Avarado and despite a fine late rally, the ten men simply ran out of time.

FT: Japan 2-1 Mexico

Mexico really fired up now but possibly too little too late. Japan shaken but time on their side as the whistkle sounds.

Almost 2-2, great save from Tani in the Japan goal to tip over a goal bound header. Valiant late rally here from Mexico.


Last chance saloon for Mexico here as Ochoa launches long. Ref spots an infringement and Mexico secure a dangerous free.

We'll have 4 minutes of added time.

Mexico looking to launch long balls now with time running out. For the first time all evening Japan look rattled.


The initiative very much with Mexico now as we enter the final minute.

A few nerves now for Japan with that goal delivering a sliver of hope for 10-man Mexico to push for an equaliser.

Gooooool. The ball squirms into the Japan net from an Alvarado free  and El Tri have a late, late lifeline.


Free for Mexico as the ball is hit tamely into the Japan stopper's hands. A bad day at the office for Mexico after an impressive opening game against France.

Two changes for Japan: off: Doan and Daichi Hayashi wth Kaoru Mitoma and Ueda the replacements

Japan almost make it 3 as Daichi Hayashi sees Ochoa save well


More movement on the Japan bench with Hajime Moriyasu anxious to offer fringe players some match action with ten minutes remaining here in Saitama.


To be honest a third Japan looks likelier than El Tri finding the net tonight. Should Mexico lose this game, a win over South Africa in the last group game on the 28th will be enough for Lozano's men to advance. South Africa are now eliminated with 0 points from two games.

A member of the Mexican staff has been sent to the stand by the Portuguese ref. The wheels coming off for El Tri here...


Dangerous free for Japan with Kubo to take. Poor from the 20-year-old as he rifles the ball into the Mexico wall

As we approach the 70 minute mark, the Japan stopper has rarely been called upon as Vasquez is red carded for El Tri and Japan are now in pole position playing against ten men. The ref alleged that he fouled Doan on his way through on goal.

More changes for Mexico: Off Lainez and Vega with Antuna and Alvarado their replacements

Change for Japan: off Yuki and on Maeda

A look of frustration on the face of Mexican manager Lozano with his side still showing little signs of turning this game around. The Kubo and Doan goals doing enough to change the dynamic of the contest


Mexico break and Martin heads from the six yard but the flag was up

Kubo is caught and goes to ground holding his neck. Japan free kick.

Fine work from Japan in the middle of the park with neat passing leading to an attack on the Mexico goal.

Change for Mexico: Rodriguez off and FC Juarez player Esquivel on


Clear game-plan from Samurai blue now of defending deep and inviting Mexico to attack. Japan are lightning quick on the counter as Mexico are poised to make another change.

Pretty sure I just heard Japan stopper Tani shout 'keeper' as he gathered the ball !


Japan break after a Mexico attack but this time the white shirts were back in force to snuff out the danger. Good news for Mexico fans is that Lainez is finally getting more involved after a very discreet first 45'.

Mexico do seem to be that little bit fired up at the start of the second half.

Tanaka carded for a trip on Lainez and the Betis man seems okay to continue

The second half is off and running with Japan starting the action.

The teams return to the Saitama Stadium pitch where they are greeted by canned chants of 'Nippon Nippon'

Mexico player out with plenty of 'dale dale' (let's do it )!

Plenty of work ahead for Mexico as Jaime Lozano's men have been outclassed for much of the half by an impressive Japan side who have looked good going forward and solid at the back.
Two early goals give the Samurai Blue the initiative and Mexico desperately need an early goal in the second half to get back into the contest. Ritsu Doan and Take Kubo have impressed for Japan.

The whistle sounds at the end of the half.

We'll have 2 minutes of added time at the end of the half.


Mexico go close as Cordova rifles the ball into the side netting

Change for Mexico with Aguirre limping off and Loroña his replacement


The ball comes through to Cordova in the Japan box but the Club America man mis-cues. Trouble for El Tri with Erick Aguirre with the player seeimng to have sustaiuned an injury.


Mexico free-kick swung in by Vega but the men in blue are level to the challenge and avert the danger.

It's been some time watching football where I've seen a defensive display so dogged and determined as Japan are offering tonight.


Mexico now looking to try and secure a foothold in the game as we head towards the interval. Kosei Tani in the Japan goal has yet to be really tested though by the men in white so far here in Saitama.


Real Betis winger Diego Lainez has yet to get into the swing of the action.


Half an hour gone in Saitama and Japan good value for their 2-0 lead against a Mexico side who have yet to find their rhythm.

Sanchez is now carded for a late challenge. Three Mexicans in the refs book.

Kubo shows his confidence level by attempting to drive the free-kick from 30 yards out but the Mexico wall does its job and the danger is averted.

Carlos Rodriguez (MEX) carded for a foul. Second El Tri man in the book tonight

The battling and energy levels from Japan are might impressive tonight and totally dispel any preconceptions of Japan being all about quick ball movement. Hajime Moriyasu's side have battled for every lose ball and out muscled Mexico in all parts of the field.

PSV player Doan has been exceptional for Japan and has been massively effective down the Japan right flank.


Ochoa once again called into action as he is forced to parry a volleyed effort from Soma.

Japan too ahead in terms of possession (55-45%)


Japan have been hugely impressive in this opening phase of the game. Moving the ball around expertly and giving Mexico very little time and space to play their game.


Henry Martin goes close for El Tri but his swivel volley was straight at the Japan keeper.


This certainly wasn't in the script for Mexico manager Lozano as his side trail 2-0 with just 14 minutes on the clock. A huge test of character ahead for his Mexico side.

Doan to take for Japan and he smashes the ball home.....Goooool for Japan

Penalty awarded and yellow for Montes

The referee is checking his VAR screen for a possible spot kick for Japan after Hayashi was fouled by Montes.

More pressure from Japan as they earn another corner with Mexico rattled from the goal.

Gooool Take Kubo slides in to give Japan the lead with the Mexican defence caught napping


Better from Mexico as Ernesto Vega delivers a teasing ball into the Japan box bit the Samurai Blue stopper Tani is on hand.


Japan enjoying the better of the opening minutes with more domination of the ball.


Once again with the empty stadium, every shout from the bench and the players can be heard as Japan win an early corner.

Jaime Lozano hoping to emulate the feat of the Mexico side in London 2012 where El Tri secured the Olympic gold. Off we go in Saitama. Mexico start the game.

Kick off moments away as dramatic music blares out of the PA system. Mexico captain Ochoa and Yashida from Japan talk to the Portugiese official ahead of the toss-up

Japan tonight in their camouflage blue top and dark shorts. Mexico in an away all white kit in Saitama.

Mexico take to the field too and both sides stand for the national anthems.

Japan take to the field first as the White Stripes '7 Nation Army' blares from the Saitamna Stadium PS system

The stage is set in Saitama, the vast empty arena awaits the entrance of both teams with a temperature of 29C/81F but a 87% humidity level ensuring a hot and sticky evening for all players.

The winners of Group A will face the runner-up of Group B in the next stage of the competition with the runners-up in A facing the victors of Group B...with Romania, Honduras. S.Korea and New Zealand the competing teams in Group B

Juntos! Paso a paso! Vamos México !!! 🇲🇽

Mexico keeper Ochoa posts after debut Tokyo 2020 win


Today's match official for the Saitama clash is Portuguese referee Artur Soares Dias with the 42-year-old hailing from the city of Porto.

Diego Lainez is the only player in the Mexico squad who plays his football away from Liga MX with the winger at Real Betis. The remainder of the Mexican squad play domestically.

Team news: Confirmed Japan XI

Team news: Mexico XI


The Saitama Stadium, the venue for tonight's game but sadly the 63,000 arena will be empty due to the covid-19 situation in Japan with a ban on spectators attending any Olympic events as a deterrent to further spreading the disease.

Just a reminder that the top two teams from each group progress to the quarter-final stage. After today's game, Mexico will face South Africa with Japan set to face France. Both games will be staged on 28 July.

France have just beaten South Africa in the other Group A game player earlier. 'Les Bleus' needed two late goals to secure their first Olympic points and keep the dream of progressing alive with a 4-3 win.


The one to watch for the Mexican U23 side is Diego Lainez. After a solid season where the 21-year-old helped propel his Real Betis side to a Europa League place, the Mexican winger has gained the support of Chilean coach Pellegrini and was highly impressive in 'El Tris' opening win against France.


All Japanese eyes will be on Take Kubo with the 20-year-old something of a hero locally. After a mixed spell in LaLiga season on loan with the likes of Villarreal and Getafe, the player who is still officially signed to Real Madrid will be anxious to impress on home soil and with the Games being staged in his native Japan.


This is how Group A looks ahead of the game today. Both 'El Tri' and 'Samurai Blue' recording wins in their Olympic openers with Mexico putting four past France and Take Kubo bagging Japan's winner against South Africa.

This is how Group A looks ahead of the game today. Both 'El Tri' and 'Samurai Blue' recording wins in their Olympic openers with Mexico putting four past France and Take Kubo bagging Japan's winner against South Africa.

The action at Saitama Stadium starts at 07:00 ET / 13:00 CEST and 19:00 in Japan.

Hello and a very warm welcome to our live Olympic coverage as Japan face Mexico in the second Group A game of the Tokyo Olympics.