Japan and Mexico set up Wembley showdown

 

Japan advanced to their first Olympic semi-final in 44 years by beating Egypt 3-0 in the quarter-finals, giving them a chance to improve on the bronze they won in 1968. "We are now in the position to challenge the world," Japan's coach, Takashi Sekizuka, said. "The team is getting stronger and stronger game by game."

The match at Old Trafford in front of more than 70,000 fans was another solid display from the Japanese, who haven't conceded a goal so far. They took the tournament by surprise by beating Spain in the first group stage match, and have carried that momentum on.

Against an Egypt team that was reduced to 10 men before half-time, Japan started the match brightly and took an early lead. Forward Kensuke Nagai scored in the 14th minute after midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake stripped the ball from a defender near the halfway line, turned and ran down the right before firing in a hard cross just inside the penalty area. Nagai chested the ball down and turned around Egypt goalkeeper Ahmed Elshenawi and defender Saadeldin Saad, who collided trying to deal with the danger and sprawled to the ground. Nagai slotted the ball into an empty net.

For Japan's second, captain Maya Yoshida headed home unmarked in the 78th minute from a free-kick. Their third came in the 83rd with another header, this time from Yuki Otsu, after a cross.

They will travel to Wembley to face Mexico, who beat Senegal 4-2, with extra-time goals from Giovani Dos Santos and Hector Herrera sealing their place in the last four. Dos Santos' free kick set up Jorge Enriquez's 10th-minute goal before a blunder by Senegal led to Javier Aquino making it 2-0 just past the hour mark.

Moussa Konate's tournament-high fifth goal started the rally, but Senegal were undone by awful defending. Ibrahima Balde drew Senegal level, but two defensive errors in extra time handed Mexico the win in front of 81,855 spectators at Wembley Stadium.

The win means that Mexico will at least match their previous best Olympic finish, which was fourth in 1968 – when they lost to Japan in the bronze medal match.

In the women's tournament, Japan will face France in the semi-final tomorrow night, looking to take a step closer to adding Olympic gold to the World Cup title they won last year. A 2-0 victory over Brazil in Cardiff on Friday condemned the the South Americans to their worst Olympic finish ever in a tournament many expected them to win. Olympic debutants France came from a goal behind to beat Sweden at Hampden Park.

In the other semi-final, the favourites United States will face Canada in a repeat of a qualifying match for the tournament, which the US won 4-0. The United States overcame New Zealand in their quarter-final, with goals from the veteran striker Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee