Olympics: Rafa Mir scores hat-trick as Spain overpower Ivory Coast in extra time to reach semi-finals

Substitute Rafa Mir’s hat-trick secured Spain a 5-2 victory over Ivory Coast in extra time on Saturday; Spain will face hosts Japan in the semi-finals after their shootout win over New Zealand

Saturday 31 July 2021 12:43, UK

Spain ended a 21-year wait to reach the men’s Olympic football semi-finals as substitute Rafa Mir scored a hat-trick to secure a 5-2 victory over Ivory Coast in extra time on Saturday.

Winger Max Gradel appeared to have secured Ivory Coast’s place in the final four when he made it 2-1 with a stoppage time strike, only for Mir to score almost immediately at the other end and force extra time.

Ivory Coast’s fate was sealed when defender Eric Bailly, who scored their opening goal inside 10 minutes, turned from hero to villain as he conceded a penalty with a bizarre handball inside the box.

Team news

Spain: Simon, Mingueza, Garcia, Torres, Miranda, Merino, Zubimendi, Gonzalez, Asensio, Oyarzabal, Olmo.

Subs used: Cucurella, Vallejo, Mir, Carlos Soler, Moncayola, Gil Salvatierra.

Ivory Coast: Tape, Singo, Bailly, Dabila, Ismael Diallo, Timite, Eboue, Kessie, Gradel, Kouame, Dao.

Subs used: Amad Diallo, Abdulkader Keita, Kouao.

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Mikel Oyarzabal slotted the ball home from the spot in the 98th minute before Mir added two more goals past an exhausted Ivory Coast defence to put the result beyond doubt.

👋 HOLA, ME LLAMO RAFA crak, mastodonte, extraordinario, gigante, animal, MIR.

🔝 Y me llevo un balón de los #JuegosOlimpicos a casa porque he marcado un hat-trick en los cuartos de final.

🤪 ¿Algo más que añadir, @RafaMir33?#Tokyo2020 #AlgoÚnico2020 pic.twitter.com/LtK0CSkWlW

Victory ensures Spain return to the semi-finals for the first time since claiming silver at the 2000 Sydney Games.

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Spain, the last European team to win a men’s football Olympic gold in 1992, will face Japan after the hosts beat New Zealand 4-2 on penalties following a 0-0 draw.

Outstanding Saturday quarter-finals

  • Brazil vs Egypt – Kick-off 11am (Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama)
  • South Korea vs Mexico – Kick-off 12pm (International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama)

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