In the 115th minute of extra time, Marco Asensio scored to help Spain defeat Japan and secure a spot in the men’s soccer gold medal match on Tuesday in Rifu, Japan. Brazil advanced to the Olympic finals by defeating Mexico in penalties earlier Tuesday.
At Miyagi Stadium, Spain and Japan played to a scoreless draw in regulation and the first period of extra time. Asensio came on as an 83rd-minute substitute and scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime period.
The goal avoided a penalty shootout and resulted in a 1-0 victory.
Spain has returned. With a throw-in from the right flank, Jesus Vallejo started the scoring sequence. The feed was received by striker Mikel Oyarzabal just outside the Japan box. Oyarzabal dribbled past defenders before passing into the box for Asensio.
Real Madrid’s midfielder snatched the ball and tapped it to his left. He then beat Japan goalkeeper Kosei Tani with a left-footed shot just inside the far post. Tani’s right hand curved around the ball as he attempted a diving save.
Spain held onto the narrow lead for the final nine minutes to advance to its first gold medal game since 2000. Spain last won the Olympic gold medal in men’s soccer at the 1992 Summer Games.
Brazil, the defending Olympic champions, needed extra time and a penalty shootout against Mexico to clinch its spot in the gold medal game. The Brazilians held a 67% advantage in possession and outshot Mexico, but failed to beat goalie Guillermo Ochoa.
The scoring drought continued through two, 15-minute periods of extra time.
Veteran right back Dani Alves converted Brazil’s attempt of the penalty session with a shot into the bottom left corner.
Mexican striker Eduardo Aguirre’s first attempt was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Santos. Gabriel Martinelli, a Brazilian winger, followed with another successful attempt. On the next attempt, Mexico defender Johan Vasquez hit the post.
Brazil took a 3-0 lead in the shootout after midfielder Bruno Guimaraes converted his third attempt. Mexico’s next shot came from midfielder Carlos Rodriguez. Reinier of Brazil sealed the victory with a right-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
Spain takes on Brazil in the gold medal match on NBCSN Saturday at 7:30 a.m. EDT. Brazil also won silver at the 2012 Summer Games and bronze at the 2008 Summer Games, in addition to its gold from 2016.
Mexico faces Japan in the men’s bronze medal match at 7 a.m. EDT Friday on NBCSN.
Sweden takes on Canada in the women’s gold medal match at 10 p.m. EDT Thursday on USA. The U.S. women battle Australia in a bronze medal match at 4 a.m. EDT Thursday on USA.
The United States’ Kelley O’Hara consoles Carli Lloyd as she buries her face in her hands after Canada defeated Team USA in the soccer semifinal match on August 2. Canada defeated the United States 1-0 on a penalty kick. Photo by Mike Theiler