Olympic action: July 26
The second day of Olympic competition got underway Thursday as the men’s soccer squads took to the pitch. There were no Americans involved in the action Thursday as the U.S. men’s soccer team did not qualify for the Olympics, but there was still plenty of drama for fans of the Olympics to follow.
Japan pulls off upset win over Spain
The Spanish soccer team is one of the favorites for gold after winning the European U-21 championship (male Olympic soccer teams have age restrictions in order to prevent the same teams competing in the World Cup from competing in the Olympics. FIFA does not want the Olympics to overshadow the World Cup). Spain received a sobering reminder of how difficult the Olympic competition will be, however, as they lost to Japan, 1-0. Japan took the lead thanks to a goal in the 34th minute from Yuki Otsu. The Japanese certainly deserved the win – in fact, it was several blown opportunities by Japan that kept the score tight rather than any strong play from Spain. The Spanish also found themselves shorthanded after Inigo Martinez was shown a red card for illegal contact with Japan’s Kensuke Nagai. Martinez will not be allowed to play in Spain’s second game of the round robin, a match against Honduras Sunday. Japan will face Morocco on Sunday.
Great Britain looks lackluster in 1-1 draw with Senegal
The British were disappointed by their soccer team’s draw against Senegal in its first game of the 2012 Olympics. Team Great Britain, which, in contrast to typical international competition teams, is composed of players from all countries under the crown rather than just England, could not find a rhythm Thursday to match Senegal’s physical play. Great Britain captain Ryan Giggs complained after the match about a lack of “protection” from Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov. England scored first thanks to a Craig Bellamy goal in the 20th minute and rode the one-goal lead until the 82nd minute, when Senegal’s Moussa Konate tied the match. England faces the United Arab Emirates in its next game on Sunday, while Senegal will face off against group-leading Uruguay Sunday.
The major event on tap for Friday is the Opening Ceremonies, which will air in the U.S. at 7:30 p.m. on NBC. Earlier in the day, archers will compete in non-televised ranking rounds.