GB women's football start with win
Stephanie Houghton, centre, scores the free-kick that won Team GB the game
Stephanie Houghton gave Great Britain Olympic lift-off in Cardiff with the only goal in a 1-0 victory over New Zealand.
In front of a record international crowd in the UK for a women's football game, the 24-year-old curled home a superb second-half free-kick to give the home side a win that puts them on track for a place in the last eight of the 12-team competition.
Durham-born Houghton's goal secured a deserved win for Hope Powell's players, who take on Cameroon at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
For 15 minutes, however, Team GB found themselves on the back foot against New Zealand, Hannah Wilkinson proving highly effective for the visitors. That opening period was halfway through before Powell's side managed their first effort on goal, a curling Houghton free-kick which was pushed away by Jenny Bindon.
With Arsenal full-back Alex Scott starting to make her presence felt with regular forays forward from right-back, Great Britain began to get on top. Scott failed to make the most of a decent chance after she had skipped into the box.
Anita Asante went closest to breaking the deadlock after Eniola Aluko's cross dropped to the far post, but there seemed little conviction in the header.
Great Britain continued to create chances following the introduction of Ellen White at half-time as Scott had a goalbound effort blocked by Ali Riley. But to the crowd's delight in the 64th minute, Houghton kept her nerve with a 25-yard free-kick as she curled expertly into the bottom corner.
The cheers of delight were almost equalled by those of relief when a ridiculous mix-up in GB's defence sent Sarah Gregorious clean through. Gregorious panicked though, and rolled a pitiful attempt straight to Karen Bardsley.
The Linkoping goalkeeper was called on again nine minutes from time, when she tipped an Amber Hearn shot over.
GB were not to be denied though as they secured a win that will be acknowledged far beyond the Welsh capital.
I've got to say that England's women's football is not to be joked about anymore.
They showed great shape, and although in terms of power in their shooting, their shooting was not really going to trouble many keepers from distance, but they were good in many other departments to compensate for that.
I'm looking forward to following the women's football - those girls can play.
It was an entertaining match.
what the hell does gender preferences matter all you morons slagging the ladies off.
you are out of order ,and completely wrong ..
support them ,or do what you do bestmmmmmmm???????
Those girls couldn't have reached the standard they had without hard work, training and practise, practise, practise and practise. The girls did well and are holding their own in a sport that favours men because of basic facts, but those girls can put a lot of men to shame with their levels of skill. I hope they get gold medals as that will really move women's football in the right direction. If I lived in London, I would take the family to both watch Arsenal's men and women's football teams given the leisure time to do so. I hope SKY will dedicate a time slot to show women's football and support their leagues.
Come on team GB and Bend it Like Beckham.
Robert Steen, you are so wide of the mark with your comments that they deserve an instant rebutal and put down. It was the home nations, apart from England that it, who excluded their players from playing as Team GB as it could jeopardise their chances of actually having a national team. This was despite the assurance from Fifa that this exclusion would not happen. Wales, being reassured, relented (hence the inclusion of Giggs) but the others didn't. Thus it looks to you, who has not checked the full facts, that Pearce has deliberately chosen mainly English players.
Brilliant! Football as it should be, played without all the histrionics associated with the male game.
However, to all those who are saying that this is the best organised Olympic Games ever, you may now be eating your words at the schoolboy error of putting up the South Korean flag when the North Korean's played at Hampden Park. Just how long have they had to get this right? Oh yes. SEVEN years. And LOCOG say this will not happen again? I wouldn't hold my breath.
You have to take your hat off to the womens team! they do score some great goals,, especially in the free kicks department.
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