Amazing goals, flag mishaps and Japan proving they are (and should fly) 1st Class
The highlight of the first round was undoubtedly the USWT’s breath-taking 4-2 victory over the France, coming from 2 goals behind to reassert their early status as pre-tournament joint favourites. Sadly, the match was overshadowed by rumours that Samir Nasri’s KD-Langer-doppelganger-effect almost won him a place on the French side. These rumours remain unconfirmed, but The Sportist likes to think that it’s probably true.
Team GB kicked off the games in Cardiff and, astonishingly, managed not to claim the city was in England (unlike poor Joe Allen who must be wondering what he has to do to get into Roy Hodgson’s England squad, aside from changing the country of his birth). Less astonishingly, Hope Powell’s team saw off a spirited (as we are contractually obliged to call them) New Zealand team with an awesome second half free kick from Arsenal’s Steph Houghton. The Sportist would promise not to make more references to Arsenal over the next couple of weeks, but frankly that would be silly.
Sweden’s women’s team lived up to their billing, both as potential medal-winners with a devastating first 30 minutes against South Africa, and as the blondest team to take part in competitive football since Romania’s men’s team had an ill-advised peroxide-pact in 2000. The highlight (ha ha-Ed.) of the match, though, comes from potential goal of the tournament from South Africa’s Portia Modise. “Pick that out“.
In the late (late, late, late, late, late, late) kick off, the big news – as everyone surely knows by now – was North Korea’s 2-0 win over Colombia. At least, that was the big news as reported in North Korea. The rest of us will have broiled in shame/rolled around laughing our heads off as those cheeky Scots pushed themselves one step closer to independence by embarrassing the Games organisers through the means of flags. South Korean flags next to North Korean players, no less. There’s obviously something about playing in Britain as the South North Korean victory continues the nation’s impressive footballing heritage on our fair isle, being the home also of the men’s team’s World Cup quarter final showdown in 1966.
In the day’s other two matches, Brazil did what nobody in the world expected and utterly trounced a seemingly shell-shocked Cameroonian side with 26-year old sensation Marta getting two, while Japan beat Canada 2-1 in a match The Sportist had no idea was happening until we checked the results this morning. That’s reigning Olympic champions Japan against probably not reigning Olympic champions Canada. Sorry. Whether Brazil can go a step further than in 2004 and 2008 and lift the trophy may (or may not) depend on whether they stop spending so much time practising godawful goal celebrations and focus on putting a stop to Japan’s gold medal hopes, but for the time being the legacy of Bebeto’s baby lives on..
The Sportist likes to leave things on a positive note, so to finish up we leave you with a tweet from DPRK_FA (That’s Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Football Association to you or I ), who took time out from reporting that the North Korean leader won a night-time victory against a pack of bears, to reply to The Telegraph’s Paul Hayward. Hayward had had the temerity to point out North Korea’s lack of response to their own dreadful human rights record in comparison to their reaction to the flag ‘mishap’:
“IT EVERY PART OUTRAGE FOR US. WE NOT SHOW A FLAG FOR YOU OF MCDONALDS AND BIG PIE. SMALL TEAR ON SUPREME LEADER FACE”
Small tear indeed, guys. Small tear.