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Brazil to play for gold after solving Mexico in penalties

Brazil to play for gold after solving Mexico in penalties
Posted at 4:49 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 06:45:10-04

Unable to get past Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa over 90 and then 120 minutes, dominant Brazil found itself staring down the legendary Mexico goalkeeper in penalty kicks to decide an Olympic semifinal on Tuesday in Japan.

Dani Alves, Bruno Guimares, and Reinier made Brazil's first three penalties after Mexico missed their first two attempts, eliminating the North Americans in penalties as they did when they claimed gold at the 2012 Olympic final in London.

Brazil moves on to play the winner of Tuesday's later semifinal between Japan and Spain, while Mexico will play the loser of that match.

Ochoa got a piece of Alvesopening penalty attempt but not enough, and Santos stopped birthday boy Eduoardo Aguirre on Mexico's first attempt. Then Johan Vasquez clipped the left post with Mexico's second attempt.

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Brazil was all over Mexico almost immediately, and a pair of national team legends were front and center when Dani Alves carved a free kick through the wall but was stymied by Guillermo Ochoa.

Brazil won a penalty when Douglas Luiz was clever in getting in front of his defender only to see Video Assistant Referee spurn the call on the field.

Richarlison, as he's been all tournament, was an ever-present threat for the Brazilians but they just couldn't find their way to the scoreboard.

If you'll allow the term "smash and grab" to be adapted to a first half instead of an entire game, Mexico nearly pulled off such a heist at the end of the first 45 minutes.

And twice!

First, a counterattack saw Luis Romo smash a shot on goal that Brazil keeper Santos did saved before another big and hopeful Mexican cross was denied by Santos and his backs.

The second half lived in Mexico's third, and Richarlison continued to be a major threat, nearly collecting the winner with a cultured header off the inside of the post that skittered back to him at too acute of angle to cut home.