Even though the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics takes place on Friday 27 when 10,000 athletes from 205 countries will make the inauguration, the Games already started on Wednesday July 25 with a women’s soccer match between the host nation Great Britain and visiting New Zealand.
A goal-kick from Stephanie Houghton, Arsenal player, handed the victory to Britain 1-0 in the first Olympic match, played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
A solitary goal of Houghton, with a precise shooting in a fault that came to the right of goalkeeper Jenny Bindon. Coach Hope Powell was, as would be expected, pleased.
The host team, who alongside Brazil are the favorites to dominate in Group E, was evidently superior to New Zealand.
However, the game between Great Britain and New Zealand was not the only premature match. The national U.S. women’s soccer team started in the best possible way with a 4-2 victory against France at Glasgow’s Hampden Park stadium. The beginning was not easy and France took advantage of the first minutes. By minute 14, France was already winning 0-2 and playing comfortably. But the U.S. did not give up; Abby Wambach in minute 19 shortened the distance, and a pair of goals from Alex Morgan and one from Carli Lloyd secured victory to the U.S.
Other games played on Wednesday 25 were Japan’s victory against Canada (2-1), Brazil showing their superiority against Cameroon (0-5) and Sweden defeating South Africa (4-1).
The medals will be in play between 12 teams divided into three groups of four teams each. The United States is in Group G, along with Colombia, Korea DPR, and France. The next game for the U.S. team will be against Colombia on Saturday 28.
U.S. is favorite for winning the gold medal, but they will have to take care of the other potential aspirants such as Brazil with veteran Marta, or the recent world champions Japan, with the illustrious Homare Sawa (player of the year for FIFA). France and Britain are also prime contenders for the gold.