Mexico Beats France 4-1 at the Olympics

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CHOFU, Japan — Mexico, the gold medalist in 2012 Olympic men’s soccer, launched its campaign to regain that title after beating France 4-1 at the Tokyo Stadium on Thursday.

Alexis Vega scored a goal in the first half and Sebastian Cordova, Uriel Antuna and Erick Aguirre added a goal at halftime as Mexico beat a two-star French team from Mexico’s Liga MX.

One of them, André-Pierre Gignac, scored from the penalty spot in the 69th minute after Randal Kolo Muani was scythe inside the Mexican penalty area.

The 35-year-old striker, who has played more than 200 games for Mexican club Tigres since 2015, plays as one of three France’s three-year-old players at the Olympics. He was a thoughtful, vocal but under-supplied presence on Thursday, chatting with Mexican players in Spanish, challenging his teammates in French, and at one point denouncing the Australian referee for a perceived injustice in English.

“This will be a special match for me because my sons are Mexican so I’m excited,” he told reporters this week. In the end, he was someone he would probably want to forget quickly; team can still progress with better performances against South Africa and host Japan in the next two group games.

It wasn’t Thursday’s only surprise that Mexico knocked down France, a country known for its strong youth teams. Advances to the semi-finals of the European Championship just two weeks ago, it was held to a goalless draw by a defensive-minded Egypt in Sapporo.

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