We’re fewer than 24 hours from the official kickoff of the 2016 Summer Olympics, but even before the athletes step into formation and the flags get unfurled, the men’s soccer teams took to the pitch for their first day of competition.
One of the day’s biggest match-ups was Portugal vs. Argentina, a Group D outing in which two medal contenders faced each other at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium. As I mentioned in yesterday’s women’s soccer write-up, I’m no Pele; still, I’ve always admired how fútbol players can run and run and run as though they’re unaffected by gravity and/or lactic acid build-up, yet they still have energy left over to apply strategy and skill at top speed (and, entertainingly, a little reserve always held back in case on-field histrionics are required).
Accordingly, there was a lot to enjoy in the history-making Portugal/Argentina match, in which Argentina had its first men’s soccer loss in decades. One nail-biting moment found Portugal player Pité kicking the ball through Argentina goalie Gerónimo Rulli’s legs, hitting the back of the net and cementing Portugal’s 2-0 lead that eventually became the final score.
(Side note for those eagerly awaiting the United States men’s team debut: That wait is going to last at least another four years. The American team lost a playoff to Colombia earlier this year, meaning that it failed to qualify for the 2016 games.)
Here are some other highlights from the all-men’s-soccer Day -1 (almost there!) of the Rio games:
* Iraq and Denmark played to a draw, 0-0.
* Later, Brazil and South Africa did the same, 0-0.
* And then Mexico and Germany ended with a tie score as well: 2-2.
What was your favorite moment of this day of Olympic competition? What are you most looking forward to in the games? Let us know in the comments!