Menu

OLYMPICS

U.S. surges past France; Canada falls to Japan

The 2012 women's Olympic soccer tournament got off to a flying start in Group G play on Wednesday as the United States came from two goals down to secure a 4-2 victory over France at Hampden Park.

The Americans went down 2-0 in the opening 15 minutes after goals from Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie. But the U.S. regrouped and was back on level terms by halftime as Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan each scored to make it 2-2.

And the second 45 minutes belonged to the Americans, with Carli Lloyd and Morgan each finding the net to give their team three points.

"There's nothing that's going to stop us," said Wambach following the match. "Two goals, people getting injured, there's one thing that we have on our mind and it's gold."

The U.S. will now face Colombia in its second match in Group G on Saturday, while France tries to rebound against North Korea.

It was a surprisingly sloppy start for the Americans defensively as Thiney picked up a loose ball 30 yards from goal and had room to unleash a shot that goalkeeper Hope Solo could only get a hand to before it settled into the back of the net.

The French made it 2-0 a few minutes later when a scramble inside the area ended with Delie firing home a first-time shot from 12 yards.

Wambach started the comeback in the 19th minute by heading home Megan Rapinoe's corner kick, and Morgan leveled the match shortly after the half- hour mark when she lobbed a flicked header from Wambach over goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi.

The momentum carried over into the second half and the U.S. went in front in the 56th minute when Rapinoe laid a ball off for Lloyd, who hammered it past Bouhaddi from 20 yards.

France was clearly on the back foot and had no answer as Morgan notched her second goal of the contest to put it away.

Tobin Heath did well to find space on the left wing and carry the ball into the area, where she drove a low cross through traffic to an open Morgan at the back post for a simple tap in.

"It was very difficult," France midfielder Camille Abily said after her side squandered a two-goal lead, "but we need to be confident because we still have two more games in the group."

World Cup champions Japan got off to a strong start in Group F play with a 2-1 win over Canada.

The Japanese scored first in the 33rd minute with Nahomi Kawasumi finding the net from a tight angle, while Aya Miyama scored just before halftime with a header to double Japan's lead.

Melissa Tancredi pulled a goal back for Canada 10 minutes into the second half, but Japan did well to see the game out and will face Sweden on July 28 in its next match, while Canada takes on South Africa.

"We knew it was going to be tough," said Canada head coach John Herdman. "They're world champions for a reason. But we dug in for long periods of time. We found momentum and we rocked Japan a bit. When you play against Japan you have scary moments. They move the ball so dynamically."

Brazil is also among the favorites in London and easily dispatched Cameroon in Group E, 5-0, behind two goals from Marta while Francielle, Renata Costa and Cristiane chipped in a goal apiece.

Great Britain also started play in Group E with three points as Stephanie Houghton's goal in the 64th minute was the difference for the hosts, who topped New Zealand, 1-0.

Sweden joined Japan as Group F winners on the opening day with a comfortable 4-1 victory over South Africa powered by two goals from Lotta Schelin, while Kim Song-Hui led the way for North Korea as she tallied both goals in a 2-0 triumph over Colombia.