December 4, 2016
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Rio Olympic 2016 Spain shock Samoa Rio Rugby Football Game

Rio Olympic 2016 Spain shock Samoa Rio Rugby Football Game

Rio Olympic 2016 Spain shock Samoa Rio Rugby Football Game

 

Rio Olympic 2016 Spain shock Samoa Rio Rugby Game

Spain have claimed the last place in the men’s rugby sevens competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the most dramatic circumstances imaginable. Staring defeat in the face, 17-19 down to heavy favourites Samoa in the final of the qualification tournament in Monaco on Sunday (19 June), Ignacio Martin scored a decisive try in the corner in the last second of the match to send ‘Los Leones’ on their way to Rio.

Of the 16 nations competing in Monaco for just one place, traditional rugby-playing nation Samoa were tipped by many observers as hot favourites, with few giving a thought to the Spanish. However, on their way to the final Spain comfortably defeated Republic of Korea and Mexico in the group stages and fought their way past the tougher challenges of Ireland and Russia in the knock-out phase. In the final, Spain took an early 12-0 lead but went into half-time trailing 12-14. The Samoans extended their lead in the second half before the Spaniards took control of the match and booked their ticket to Rio in thrilling style.

Veteran Spanish player Pablo Feijoo could not contain his tears of joy after the victory. “I can’t believe it. It’s a dream for us,” he said. “We are not the biggest or the strongest, but our main strength is that we work together as a team.”

Rio Olympic 2016 Spain shock Samoa Rio Rugby Game
I am still trying to take it in,” team-mate Angel Lopez said. “This is a dream for us. We are going to be Olympians. We believed that we are good enough, but wow, this is pretty special.” “We now have a month to prepare for Rio 2016. We will be very motivated and determined to do our nation, our family and Spanish rugby proud.” Spain join Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain, Argentina, USA, France and Japan in the line-up for Rio 2016. Favourites for medals in Rio include Fiji, current champions of the World Rugby Sevens Series, and the famed All Blacks of New Zealand, as well as Great Britain and South Africa. But in rugby sevens, anything can happen – and as the qualification tournament in Monaco proved, it often does.

The final qualifying place in the women’s event at Rio 2016 will be decided at the women’s global repechage tournament in Dublin on 25-26 June. The draw for the men’s and women’s groups in the Olympic Games will then take place at the end of June. Rio 2016 will be the first time that rugby has appeared at the Olympic Games since 1924, when countries competed in the traditional 15-a-side version of rugby. The seven-a-side version of the game that will be played in Rio is renowned for exciting play, a carnival-like atmosphere in the stands and for giving smaller nations a chance to upset some of the sport’s superpowers. All rugby matches at Rio 2016 will be played in Deodoro Olympic Park in western Rio.

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