Olympics 2012

Brits kick-start Games with win

2012-07-25 20:03
Stephanie Houghton (AP)

Cardiff - Great Britain, playing their first ever Olympic women's soccer match, got the London Games off to a winning start in Wales on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand.

Two days before the Olympics officially open in the capital, Arsenal Ladies defender Stephanie Houghton scored the only goal of the game with a neatly-executed free-kick after 64 minutes.

In a match played in bright sunshine but in front of a sparse crowd at the 75 000-capacity Millennium Stadium, the home of Welsh rugby, Britain were just about worthy winners.

Houghton buried a 25-yard free-kick with a curling effort over the wall and past Jenny Bindon in the Kiwi goal.

"It was something special and I'm sure my family are really proud. I don't think it will sink in for a while. I'm just glad it got us the win," said Houghton.

"The win was brilliant. We needed three points and we got them. We worked very hard as a team under hard conditions."

Seven of the British team played in the England side that beat New Zealand in the 2011 women's World Cup in Germany and that experience proved crucial in the first half.

Anita Asante had the best of Britain's chances with a header from an Eniola Aluko cross on the half hour mark beating Bindon who was relieved to see the ball clip the post and bounce behind.

Just before she found the net, Houghton had seen a long-range effort gathered by Bindon.

After they went behind, the Kiwis rallied with Karen Bardsley in the British goal denying Sarah Gregorius.

The New Zealand striker then wasted a great late opportunity after Ifeoma Dieke and Casey Stoney had collided on the edge of the area.

But Gregorius's shot was weak and allowed Bardsley to dive to her left and save.

Results on Wednesday from the Olympic women's soccer event:

Britain 1, New Zealand 0

Japan 2, Canada 1

United States 4, France 2

Brazil 5, Cameroon 0

Sweden 4, South Africa 1

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  soccer
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