spain-argentina.jpg
Getty Images

The men's Olympic soccer semifinals are now set with Spain, Brazil, and Mexico the three teams left alongside the home nation Japan in the hunt for the gold medal.

The Spanish needed a late equalizer and extra time before eventually blowing Ivory Coast away in Rifu while the Mexicans thumped South Korea in Yokohama.

It was tougher going for the Brazilians who squeezed past Egypt by a single goal in Saitama while it went all the way to penalties for the Japanese against New Zealand in Kashima.

That sets up Mexico vs. Brazil at Kashima Stadium and Japan vs. Spain at the Saitama Stadium 2002 for a place in the final which will take place at International Stadium Yokohama.

Quarterfinal results

Spain 5-2 Ivory Coast (AET) -- Rifu

Japan 0-0 New Zealand (4-2 on penalties) -- Kashima

Brazil 1-0 Egypt -- Saitama

South Korea 3-6 Mexico -- Yokohama

(You can check out the full schedule and results from the tournament here.)

Semifinal draw:

Mexico vs. Brazil -- Kashima

Japan vs. Spain -- Saitama

Now, some takeaways from another round of unpredictable Olympic action.

Goal crazy Spain and Mexico

Between Spain and Mexico's two quarterfinals, there were 16 goals to the one single strike across Brazil and Japan's games and La Rojita even needed extra time to finally put the Ivory Coast to bed.

Substitute Rafa Mir hit a hat-trick including a late, late equalizer to save Luis de la Fuente's men before they blitzed Les Elephants in extra time.

Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal also scored for the Spanish as Eric Bailly and Max-Alain Gradel found the net for the Ivorians who found it a step too far beyond the 90-minute mark.

It was even more chaotic with El Tri who were pegged back once by South Korea before pulling away with both Henry Martin and Sebastian Cordova scoring twice as Luis Romo and Eduardo Aguirre completed the scoring.

Lee Dong-gyeong hit a brace and Hwang Ui-jo was also on target as the Koreans scored three times but it was not enough to prevent their exit.

Steely Japan

Having sent France home with an impressive 4-0 demolition, many expected Samurai Blue to breeze past New Zealand.

However, the OlyWhites were stubborn and forced Hajime Moriyasu's men all the way through extra time to penalties where the stakes were high.

The hosts ultimately held their collective nerve and won 4-2 after Liberato Cacace and Clayton Lewis failed to convert from the spot.

It might not have been pretty, but it was effective, and the Japanese are now into the semifinals with three clean sheets from four outings.

Brazilian efficiency

The Selecao had Matheus Cunha to thank for their narrow victory over Egypt as the Pharaohs failed to score for the third time in four games.

Although they were defensively sound, they were always unlikely to advance with precious little cutting edge in attack.

Extra time and penalties was always their best bet to go through and only losing by one goal illustrates how close they were to executing that game plan.

Ultimately, though, Brazil's superior squad shone through and now they will come up against Japan in the semis.

Golden boot race

Richarlison remains in the lead with five goals as Ui-jo just exited with the Koreans after notching his fourth with France's Andre-Pierre Gignac also gone, but he still teed up Cunha's winner against Egypt.

Mir's Spain heroics have moved him up to three goals alongside Takefusa Kubo and the Mexican pair of Martin and Cordova.

Unless someone else goes on a major tear over the semfinals and final, the Brazilian is likely to end up being crowned top scorer.