After a shocking draw against Egypt in the first match of the tournament, Spain came to this match with the obligation to win otherwise they would have to risk it all against Argentina.
On the other hand Australia came from a shocking 2-0 win against favourites Argentina, and therefore, leaders of Group C. Australia was good defensively but that couldn’t stop “La Roja” from getting a 1-0 win in the last 10 minutes of the game thanks to Mikel Oyarzabal.
The game kicked-off with an unsettled Spain and a well-organised Australia who tried to reach Unai Simon’s goal but were stopped by Eric García and Oscar Gil, the last of the two received the first yellow card of the game in the first 3 minutes of play.
After the first few minutes Spain started to feel comfortable and maintained possession calmly, trying to dismantle the Australian defence and after reaching Tom Glover’s goal various times on the 21st minute the clearest chance of the first half came when Real Sociedad captain Mikel Oyarzabal hit the crossbar after a marvellous pass from Javi Puado.
On the 43rd minute Lachlan Wales, the man who scored the first of the two goals against Argentina, saw the first yellow card for the Aussies ending the first half on a 0-0 draw and a very low-paced first 45 minutes.
After the break the first chance of the second half came from the boots of Denis Genreau whose shot went far above Unais Simon’s goal. On the 56th minute the game’s dynamic changed when youngster Bryan Gil was subbed in for Espanyol striker Javi Puado, giving the Spanish attack freshness and speed. Spain was having more and more chances, but the goal wasn’t arriving for Luis de la Fuente’s side after three clear opportunities from Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal and Barcelona wonderkid Pedri.
After a well-constructed play, Marco Asensio crossed the ball and the man who secured Spain’s win against Croatia at the EUROS came in clutch and headed the ball into the back of Tom Glover’s net and ended a surprising 21-year drought for the Spaniards who hadn’t celebrated a goal since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
After the goal the game made a 180 degree turn and Australia started to push Spain more and more with Nicholas D’Agostino’s impressive throw-ins that were well-defended by the Spanish defence and most importantly Unai Simon who got a hand on almost every throw-in.
After 5 minutes of extra time, Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa decided to blow the whistle and as a result Spain got the three points ending the day as leaders of their group.
Australia’s best player of the game was Manchester City player Daniel Arzani.
With his agility and pace the Spanish defence had a hard time to stop this man who was the attacking reference for the Australian side. He was substituted on the 63 minute after a very good performance trying to break down the Spanish defence.
For Spain the best player must be Bryan Gil. A very agile player with quality dribbling, his presence on the left was vital for the Spanish attack on the second half changing completely the whole dynamic of the game after coming in for Javi Puado on the 56th minute.
Australia currently sits second in Group C playing their last match against Egypt who sits last in the group. Australia must win to secure a place on the quarterfinals or could also draw and wait that Argentina loses or draws. If Australia wants to go through, they must have an attacking focused game and convert their chances against a weakened Egypt.
Spain however must either win or draw to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament, they won’t have it easy as they face Argentina who has to win to go through. Spain only needs effectiveness on the last third, same thing that happened at this summer’s European championship.