Defending champions Brazil and Ivory Coast cruised into the quarterfinals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics men’s football tournament Wednesday.
Brazil topped Group D with a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia while the Ivory Coast booked its berth following a 1-1 draw with Germany.
Brazil striker Richarlison, who netted a hat-trick against Germany in the opener, headed in to make it 2-1 before tucking away his fifth goal at the Games to seal all three points at the Saitama Stadium.
The South Americans needed only 14 minutes to take the lead as forward Matheus Cunha nodded the ball past goalkeeper Amin Albukhari from Claudinho’s corner but Saudi Arabia made it 1-1 through defender Abdulelah Alamri’s header from a free kick.
Brazil, without the firepower of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus from the 2016 Games, scored four against Germany but struggled to fire in a goalless draw against Ivory Coast and its inconsistency was on display again.
Guilherme Arana, Diego Carlos and Antony failed to put away first-half chances and Cunha hit the post after the break, as already-eliminated Saudi Arabia frustrated Brazil before Richarlison’s brace.
Ivory Coast went through to the last eight at the expense of Germany, securing a 1-1 draw with the 2016 silver medallists at Miyagi Stadium.
The African side took the lead in the 67th minute when Benjamin Henrichs attempted to make a tackle in the six-yard box and ended up putting the ball into his own net but substitute Eduard Loewen scored with a free kick six minutes later.
Germany piled on the pressure in the dying stages but Ivory Coast held on to finish second in the group.