The Opening Ceremonies are two days away, but Olympic events actually begin today. The U.S. women’s soccer team, which won gold in 2004 and 2008, faces France in Group G. Follow along with The Post’s Karla Adam, who’s at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
The game is being broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
That’s it for today; thanks for joining us. We’ll be back on Friday afternoon for the Opening Ceremonies. For the latest news, updates and features, check out The Post’s Olympics home and follow us on Twitter.
Japan wins its first Group F game, 2-1 over Canada at City of Coventry Stadium. Nahomi Kawasumi and Aya Miyama score for the World Cup champions; Melissa Tancredi has the lone tally for Canada.
The U.S. completed a remarkable comeback after falling behind 2-0 early in the first half. Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan (2) and Carli Lloyd score for the Americans, who end France’s 17-match winning streak. | Statistics
The other two teams in Group G, Colombia and North Korea, play later today.
Bagpipes just started playing here in Glasgow’s Hampden Park. I’ll take them over vuvuzelas.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 25, 2012
Sydney Leroux makes her Olympics debut, replacing Megan Rapinoe in the 84th minute. Rapinoe gets a nice ovation as she heads off, having played a key role in two goals.
Amy Rodriguez replaces Alex Morgan in the 75th minute. Morgan leaves with two goals.
Alex Morgan scores her second goal of the game, this one a tap-in off of a pass from Tobin Heath in the 66th minute. U.S. has now scored four unanswered goals.
The second half starts much better than the first for the U.S., and in the 56th minute, the Americans take their first lead of the game. Carli Lloyd — who replaced Shannon Boxx in the 17th minute — calmly collects a cross from Megan Rapinoe, then laces a right-footed shot into the corner of the net. The U.S. leads, 3-2.
In Group E, Stephanie Houghton scores in the 64th minute and the British women get their first victory of the Olympics, 1-0 at Millennium Stadium.
In Group F play, World Cup champion Japan leads Canada, 2-0, at halftime.
An entertaining first half is in the books. Some stats, courtesy of the London 2012 web site:
Shots on goal: 3 apiece
Shots: 3 for U.S., 6 for France
Possession: 52% for U.S., 48% for France
That was quick — the U.S. needed less than 20 minutes to recover from its two-goal deficit. Long, high ball played forward, Alex Morgan gets behind the French defense and one-times a left-footed shot into the net in the 32nd minute. Score tied at 2.
Abby Wambach gets the U.S. on the board with — what else? — a header off of a corner kick in the 19th minute. France leads, 2-1.
The U.S., already reeling from giving up two early goals, has one of its most experienced players, MF Shannon Boxx, leave the game. Carli Lloyd comes on to replace her.
France takes a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute on a brilliant strike by Gaetane Thiney. Less than a minute later, the U.S. defense fails to clear the ball, and Marie-Laure Delie fires it into the net for a 2-0 advantage.
The mood at historic Hampden Park is upbeat, with rock-n-roll music blaring out as the teams warmed up on the field.
Ten minutes before kick-off, outside the stadium, a man on stilts wearing a kilt entertained milling crowds playing bagpipes. Inside the stadium, the stands were still mostly empty – though not for lack of helpful directions. Like London, Glasgow’s main transport hubs are littered with stewards in bright pink pointing out directions.
Organizers said that more than 40,000 tickets were issued for today’s game, with more than 80 percent given away to sports and youth groups.
Walking into the stadium, an uncle of Christie Rampone, the captain of the U.S. team who is playing in her fourth Olympic Games, said he was “really pretty excited,” to be in Glasgow before rushing off to find his seat.
The U.S. women’s soccer team is one of the most Twitter-friendly teams around; nine of today’s 11 starters have accounts.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) July 25, 2012
France is a familiar — and dangerous — foe for the U.S. The two teams met in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup last summer, and the Americans needed a pair of late goals to escape with a 3-1 victory in Moenchengladbach, Germany. Abby Wambach’s header in the 79th minute gave the U.S. the lead for good.
Here are your starting lineups:
U.S.: Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, Kelley O’Hara, Amy Le Peilbet, Shannon Boxx, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Rachel Buehler, Tobin Heath.
France: Sarah Bouhaddi, Corine Franco, Wendie Renard, Ophelie Meilleroux, Sonia Bompastor, Camille Abily, Elise Bussaglia, Elodie Thomis, Louisa Necib, Gaetane Thiney, Marie-Laure Delie.