Japan and the United States, the two favorites for women’s soccer gold, both made winning starts on Wednesday as host Great Britain also enjoyed a victory in the first fixture of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Japan, bidding to add the Olympic title to the World Cup it won by beating the USA on penalties in the final in Germany last year, defeated Canada 2-1 in Coventry, central England but the Americans had to come from 2-0 down to beat France 4-2 at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, Scotland’s national stadium.
In Coventry, goals from Nahomi Kawasumi and captain Aya Miyama gave Japan a 2-0 lead at half-time. But Melissa Tancredi pulled a goal back for Canada early in the second half of this Group F fixture.
Japan went ahead thanks to a slick interplay in the 33rd minute. Homara Sawa’s neat ball found Shinobu Ohno, who produced a delightful back-heeled pass to find Kawasumi, who’d burst in quickly from the wing.
The tight angle was against the midfielder but she rifled the ball into the far corner of the net.
If there was not much Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod could have done to prevent Japan’s first goal, she was to blame for the Nadeshiko doubling their lead before the interval.
McLeod, rushing off her line, tried to force her way through a crowd of players but got nowhere near the ball which was headed into an unguarded net by Miyama.
Japan, who finished fourth at the 2008 Games in Beijing, would have been 3-0 up but for a goal-line clearance by Canada defender Lauren Sesselmann early in the second half.
But it was Canada who scored next, in the 55th minute. Full-back Rhian Wilkinson sprinted down the right touchline before crossing into thew box where striker Tancredi, beating her marker, nudged the ball past Japan goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto.
However, Canada then struggled to retain possession and Japan, content to defend their lead, saw out the game.(unrelated post omitted)
Source: JapanDaily, JapanToday
GO GO NADESHIKO JAPAN! This is a good start for Japan. Hope they continue the winning streak all the way to final ^^