2020 Tokyo Olympics: African Countries In Men’s Football Event Face Early Exit
By Our Reporter
Côte d’Ivoire will take on Germany in a winner-takes all match on Wednesday to determine which one of the two sides will progress to the quarterfinals of the men’s Olympic football tournament.
The West Africans drew 0-0 with defending champions Brazil despite playing the game for more than an hour with an extra man following Douglas Luiz’s dismissal in just the 13th minute.
Côte d’Ivoire also had Eboue Kouassi sent off in the 79th minute. Both Luiz and Kouassi will not be able to play in their teams’ final group matches.
The result leaves Brazil top of the group with four points with Côte d’Ivoire second due to goal difference.
Rio 2016 runners-up, Germany, gave themselves hope of qualifying for the quarterfinals after edging Saudi Arabia 3-2 despite playing the last quarter of the game with 10 men.
A draw for Côte d’Ivoire against Germany, who have three points, will be enough to see them equal their quarterfinal showing at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
South Africa’s hopes, meanwhile, hang by a thread after they missed a penalty and threw away a lead thrice to lose 4-3 to France.
Luther Singh missed a spot-kick five minutes before halftime as South Africa failed to go into the break with a valuable lead.
However, a frantic second half saw the South Africans score through Kobamelo Kodisang, Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena only for Andre-Pierre Gignac to equalize for the French each time. Teji Savanier then stepped up to score a dramatic injury-time winner for France.
South Africa lies bottom of Group A with no points but coach David Notoane remains confident that they can squeeze into the quarterfinals, despite losing their opening two matches.
South Africa can qualify if they convincingly defeat Mexico on Wednesday and improve their goal-difference, and hosts Japan beat France in Yokohama.
Egypt, like South Africa, remains precariously on the brink of elimination after going down 1-0 to Argentina in Group C. The Pharaohs are also bottom albeit with one point but could still qualify with a win against Australia on Wednesday and the other result involving Spain and Argentina go their way.