Football

Tokyo Olympics: Spain, Brazil through to final

Marco Asensio came off the bench to dump the hosts Japan out of the Olympics and sealed Spain’s place in the final against Brazil.

Marco Asensio came off the bench to dump the hosts Japan out of the Olympics and sealed Spain’s place in the final against Brazil.

Japan’s Daichi Hayashi had the best chance of the second half when his fierce shot that flew just wide of the far post of the edge of the box before Spain had a penalty decision overturned.

A spot-kick had been awarded when Mikel Merino was fouled in the box but the referee changed his decision after being referred to the pitch-side monitor, with Maya Yoshida deemed to have got the ball.

Spain’s hat-trick hero from the previous round Rafa Mir had the best chance in the closing minutes of the game but his close-range shot was denied by the feet of Kosei Tani.

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The semi-final seemed to be heading to penalties before Asensio received the ball inside the box and curled home the winner into the top corner to break Japanese hearts.

Brazil have booked their place in the Olympics gold medal match after beating Mexico 4-1 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 after 120 minutes.

The Seleção thought they had been given the perfect opportunity to take the lead after 28 minutes when Douglas Luiz was fouled in the box but the referee overturned his original decision after being referred to VAR.

But after a pulsating opening 45 minutes the game drifted out and developed into a cagey semi-final until the inevitability of a shootout became reality.

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Dani Alves scored the opening penalty, just beating Guillermo Ochoa before Santos denied Eduardo Aguirre.

Brazil scored their next three penalties through Gabriel Martinell, Bruno Guimaraes and Reinier to seal their spot in Saturday’s final.

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