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Japan off to winning start in Olympic women's soccer


13:57, July 26, 2012

Mizuho Sakaguchi of Japan heads the ball during the preliminary round Group F match of women's football between Japan and Canada, at City of Coventry Stadium, Britain, July 25. 2012. Japan won the match 2-1. (Xinhua/Guo Yong)

COVENTRY, Britain, July 25 (Xinhua) -- World champions Japan got off to a winning start at the London Olympic Games women's soccer tournament when they beat Canada 2-1 on Wednesday.

Japan dominated throughout the match with better individual skills and more fluent teamwork. Winger Nahomi Kawasumi and playmaker Aya Miyama scored in the first half.

Melissa Tancredi pulled one back for Canada after the interval, but they could make no more troubles for the confident Japanese girls.

Britain's women's team began their campaign in Cardiff with a 1-0 win over New Zealand.

Team GB played better in the first half after a shaky start and midfielder Anita Asante went close three times.

Controlling the pace of the game, Britain broke the deadlock in the second half as defender Stephanie Houghton netted a fine free-kick from just outside the area in the 64th minute.

A horrible defensive mix-up gave New Zealand a great chance to level the scores less than ten minutes later as two defenders collided to put Sarah Gregorius through on goal, but her tame shot was easily saved by Karen Bardsley.

The United States staged a spectacular comeback as they beat France 4-2 after lagging 2-0 behind. Alex Morgan scored twice.

The reigning Olympic champions looked in trouble at Glasgow's Hampden Park when Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie handed France a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes.

However, Abby Wambach's header and a cool finish from Morgan brought the score level before half-time and further goals from Carli Lloyd and Morgan early in the second half gave the Americans a deserved victory.

Later, Brazil went top of Group E as they opened their Olympic campaign in style with a comfortable 5-0 victory over tournament newcomers Cameroon at the Millennium Stadium.

Early goals from Francielle and Renato Costa put Brazil in control, before captain Marta with a brace and substitute Cristiane sealed victory.

Sweden beat South Africa 4-1 after a first-half scoring spree in their Olympic Games Group F clash at the City of Coventry Stadium.

The DPR Korean team took the field an hour late - after a protest over the use of the ROK flag by mistake in a pre-match presentation - to beat Colombia 2-0 with two goals from Kim Song-Hui.


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