SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Defending champion Brazil will face Spain for the Olympic gold medal in men’s soccer on Saturday.
Spain beat host Japan 1-0 Tuesday with Marco Asensio scoring a curling shot in the 115th minute in Saitama. The 25-year-old Real Madrid winger is one of three players in the squad over the age of 24 permitted at the Olympics. Spain benefits from being able to secure the release of players from its top clubs for an additional tournament squeezed into the season.
This time, the Brazilians don’t have Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, whose penalty clinched gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in a penalty shootout against Germany. But they still won a shootout in Kashima, beating Mexico 4-1 on penalties after a scoreless draw in the semifinal.
Brazil goalkeeper Santos stopped Mexico’s first penalty from Eduardo Aguirre, and Johan Vasquez’s attempt then hit the post. Reinier converted the winning kick to send Brazil into a third successive Olympic final.