Football

Olympics: Mexico hammer France 4-1 in clash of past champions

France's bid for men's Olympic football glory got off to a nightmare start with a 4-1 defeat by Mexico yesterday.

MEN'S FOOTBALL, GROUP A

MEXICO FRANCE
4 1

(Alexis Vega 47, Sebastian Cordova 55, Uriel Antuna 80, Eduardo Aguirre 90+1)

(Andre-Pierre Gignac 69-pen)

Sylvain Ripoll's France are looking for a first Olympic medal since winning gold in 1984, but collapsed in the second half at Tokyo Stadium.

"We're obviously disappointed with the result but also with the balance of our play," said former Lorient boss Ripoll.

"To compete, we would've needed a big performance, but that wasn't the case."

Mexico took the lead less than two minutes after the break through Alexis Vega, before Sebastian Cordova doubled their advantage in the 55th minute.

France's 35-year-old captain Andre-Pierre Gignac, whose last game for the senior French team was the Euro 2016 final loss to Portugal, pulled one back from the penalty spot with 21 minutes remaining.

But any thoughts of a comeback were quashed as Uriel Antuna and Eduardo Aguirre netted late for 2012 champions Mexico.

France now face a tough task to get out of Group A with a top-two finish, ahead of games against Covid-hit South Africa on Sunday and hosts Japan on Wednesday.

"The first thing we now have to do is digest this disappointment," added Ripoll. "We only have two days. There's no time to waste."

South Africa coach David Notoane hit out at "stigmatisation" of his Covid-hit squad, after they were forced to isolate before their 1-0 defeat by Japan yesterday.

Notoane said he had seen "people running away" from his team, after two players and a video analyst tested positive for the coronavirus last Sunday.

Twenty-one members of the team contingent were forced to isolate before the game, which Japan won thanks to a 71st-minute Takefusa Kubo goal.

"Often, when people come across us, you see people running away. I think that's a little disrespectful," said Notoane.

There were fears that South Africa were unable to register the required minimum of 13 players, but they eventually had 17 players in their match-day squad. - AFP

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