Argentina point way to Tokyo as Brazil follow
La Albiceleste win Olympic qualifying competition for the fifth time
A Canarinha will defend their Olympic title at Tokyo 2020
Men's Olympic Football Tournament will be played from 23 July to 8 August
Impressive winners of the CONMEBOL Olympic qualifying competition, Argentina will be joined at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 by runners-up Brazil.
La Albiceleste sealed the continental crown and their ticket to Japan with a game to spare, while A Canarinha only made sure of their place when beating the Argentinians in their final match. The Brazilians will now look to defend the Olympic title they won at Rio 2016.
Brazil’s defeat of their neighbours ended the hopes of Uruguay, who had given themselves a chance of making it to Tokyo with victory over hosts Colombia.
CONMEBOL Preolimpico Colombia 2020 (Men's Olympic qualification tournament)
Matheus Cunha (R) of Brazil celebrates a goal during
Claudio Bravo (R) of Argentina plays a ball with Pedro Delmino of Brazil
No stopping Argentina
After falling behind to the hosts in their opening match, Argentina turned the game around to record a narrow win. Composed from that point on, they showed both individual and collective strengths and were a cut above their opponents.
Fernando Batista’s side topped their group with a perfect record and maintained their momentum in the final phase, where they beat Uruguay and Ecuador to make sure of their fifth title in the competition and a place in Tokyo with one match still to play.
Not even defeat to Brazil in their final outing could take the gloss off a campaign in which goalkeeper Facundo Cambeses excelled along with central defender Nehuen Perez, midfielders Alexis MacAllister and Julian Alvarez, and forward Adolfo Gaich.
The stat — Argentina are set to make their ninth appearance at the Olympics, where they have won two gold medals (2004 and 2008) and two silvers (1928 and 1996).
Brazil's perseverance pays off
Brazil were nothing if not practical, doing what they had to do at both ends of the pitch and ending the tournament as the only unbeaten team.
Narrow wins over Peru and Paraguay and two more comfortable victories over Uruguay and Bolivia took them through the group phase safely enough, though they were made to work much harder in the final round.
Back-to-back draws left them needing to beat Argentina in their final match to make it to Tokyo. They were equal to the task, however, easing to a 3-0 win and having the added satisfaction of depriving their old foes of their unbeaten record.
Andre Jardine’s team boasted several standout performers, among them front men Matheus Cunha – the tournament’s leading goalscorer with five – and Paulinho, who scored three and served up three assists. Midfielders Bruno Guimaraes and Matheus Henrique also impressed.
The stat — Tokyo 2020 will be Brazil’s 14th visit to the Olympics. Gold medallists in 2016, they have also won three silvers (1984, 1988 and 2012) and two bronzes (1996 and 2008).