Mexico beat France, 4-1, at the Olympics

CHOFU, Japan – Mexico, the 2012 Olympic men’s football gold medalist, opened their campaign to reclaim the title by beating France, 4-1, on Thursday at Tokyo Stadium.

Alexis Vega scored from a header in the first half and Sebastian Cordova, Uriel Antuna and Erick Aguirre added goals after half-time as Mexico outscored a French side made up of two Mexican La Liga MX stars.

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

Gignac, a 35-year-old striker who has played more than 200 games since 2015 for Mexican club the Tigers, is competing in the Olympics as one of France’s three major players. On Thursday he was a brooding, vocal but ill-supplied presence, chatting with Mexican players in Spanish, challenging teammates in French and, at one point, lambasting the Australian referee for a perceived injustice in English.

“It will be a special game for me because my sons are Mexican so I’m excited about it,” he told reporters this week. In the end, it was something he would probably like to quickly forget; His side can still progress with better performances against South Africa and host Japan in their next two group matches.

The crush of France by Mexico, a country known for its strong youth squads, wasn’t the only surprise on Thursday: Spain, who had called up a handful of players from the senior squad who qualified for the semi-finals of the European Championship just two weeks ago, a goalless draw by a defensive-minded Egypt in Sapporo.

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