Olympic soccer roundup: Spain stunned by Japan in men’s opener; USA women rally for win over France
The first day of Olympic soccer for both the women and men are in the books, and after a rough start for the U.S. women, they rallied for a 4-2 win over France in their opening Group G match Wednesday.
France went up 2-0 in the first 15 minutes on goals from Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delle, but the USA rallied behind Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, who scored goals to tie the match before the break, and then Carli Lloyd and Morgan added second half goals to secure the win.
In the other Group G game, controversy marred the opening of the match between Colombia and North Korea, as the South Korean flag was shown instead of the North Korean one, prompting the North Koreans to leave the field for an hour before the game would start, an eventual 2-0 win for North Korea.
Hosts Great Britain got a goal from Stephanie Houghton and held off New Zealand for a 1-0 win in Group E play. In the other Group E game, Brazil was impressive in a 5-0 win over Cameroon, getting two goals from Marta, along with goals from Francielle, Renata Costa and substitute Cristiane.
In Group F, Japan got by Canada, 2-1, while Sweden was 4-1 winners over South Africa.
Women’s play resumes Saturday with the following games on tap:
• Japan vs. Sweden
• New Zealand vs. Brazil
• Canada vs. South Africa
• United States vs. Colombia
• Great Britain vs. Cameroon
• France vs. North Korea
Men’s Olympic results
In Group A, hosts Great Britain, playing at Old Trafford, got a goal from Craig Bellamy but ended up tying Senegal 1-1 after Moussa Konate tied the match in the latter stages. Uruguay rallied for a 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates in the other Group A match.
In Group B, Gabon and Switzerland played an entertaining 1-1 draw. Gabon got off to a rough start after conceding a penalty, which Admir Mehmedi converted (after an initial conversion that was wiped out due to encroachment) and having tough times on defense, but managed to find its poise and got the tying goal from Pierre Aubameyang. Mexico and South Korea, in the other Group B match, played to a scoreless draw.
Brazil, meanwhile, raced out to a three goal lead on Egypt but had to hold on for a 3-2 win in Group C play. Rafael and Leandro Damiao scored the first two goals for Brazil, and Neymar added another. Egypt got goals from Mohamed Aboutrika and Mohamed Salah. Belarus, in its first appearance at a major tournament since gaining independence, defeated New Zealand 1-0 in Group C.
Jerry Bengtson scored twice for Honduras but had to settle for a 2-2 draw with 10-man Morocco in Group D. Morocco went ahead seven minutes before the half on a well-taken volley from Abdel Barrada. Bengtson got the equalizer in the 55th minute, and scored again on a penalty to give Honduras the lead, which lasted just two minutes as Zakaria Labyad tied the match. In another Group D match, Japan, behind a goal from Yuki Otsu, stunned world and European champions Spain 1-0 in Group D. Spain’s Inigo Martinez was sent off five minutes before halftime as La Roja was forced to play the second half with 10 men.
The men next take the field Sunday with the following matchups:
• Egypt vs. New Zealand
• Mexico vs. Gabon
• Brazil vs. Belarus
• Senegal vs. Uruguay
• South Korea vs. Switzerland
• Great Britain vs. United Arab Emirates
• Spain vs. Honduras