Forward Richarlison scored the first hat-trick in the men’s football event at the Tokyo Olympics as defending champions Brazil defeated 2016 finalists Germany 4-2 at the International Stadium, Yokohama, on Thursday.

Richarlison scored his first goal of the day in the seventh minute. He saw his first shot saved by goalkeeper Florian Mueller. But the ball rebounded perfectly for the striker and he made no mistake the second time around, slotting past Mueller to give Brazil the lead.

The Everton forward’s second goal came in the 22nd minute with a header past Mueller from a delightful cross by Guilherme Arana.

The hat-trick came in the 30th minute as Richarlison turned on his right and curled a strike past Mueller into the far corner.

Richarlison’s strikes helped Brazil, the 2016 Rio Olympics gold-medalists, lead 3-0 at half-time.

In a match that is repeat of the final of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Germany pulled one back in the second half with a superb strike from Nadiem Amiri. they thenmade it 2-3 despite beingdown to 10 men. But Paulinho struck the final nail for them when he scored in the stoppage time to make it 4-2 in Brazil’s favour.

Meanwhile in a Group A clash at the Tokyo Stadium, despite their dominance, a hosts Japan saw a wave of offense upset by a poor finish and a strong performance by the South African goalkeeper, until Real Madrid youngster Takefusa Kubo’s strike inside the box found the net after hitting the far post.

Several members of South Africa’s football team, including players, have tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the team into observing quarantine. Head coach David Notoane told the post-match press conference that the team has been affected but he was proud of the performance of the team and is looking forward to the next game,reports Xinhua.

In another Group A match, French defenders were unable to stop the skillful Mexicans by conceding four goals in the second half, only to make the score 4-1 through a penalty kick by captain Andre-Pierre Gignac.

In Group C, title favourite Spain encountered a staunch defense from Egypt as the match ended in a goalless draw. Even worse for the European side was an early exit of Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos in the first half due to injury. In a later match of Group C, Australia shocked 10-man Argentina 2-0.

In Group B, Chris Wood’s lone goal in the second half was enough to propel New Zealand to a 1-0 win over South Korea, while Romania beat Honduras 1-0, with the only goal of the game coming in the first half through an own goal.

In another Group D match, AC Milan player Franck Kessie scored a winner and Cote d’Ivoire beat Saudi Arabia 2-1.

— IANS

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