Japanese quake hits Spain
Japan scored a stunning upset of world champions Spain on Thursday in the Olympic football tournament.sports Updated: Jul 26, 2012 23:51 IST
Japan scored a stunning upset of world champions Spain on Thursday in the Olympic football tournament. The greatest sporting show on earth will officially get under way on Friday, when around 80,000 VIPs and spectators will flock to the Olympic Stadium for an opening ceremony staged by Oscar-winning British movie director Danny Boyle.
However the sporting action kicked off with the opening matches of the women's football tournament at venues across Britain on Wednesday, and on Thursday it was the men's turn to take centre-stage.
While hosts Britain were due to face Senegal, it was Japan who provided the story of the day with a remarkable 1-0 win over a talented Spanish side aiming to add Olympic gold to their World Cup and Euro crowns.
Yuki Otsu was the hero for the Japanese, prodding home on 34 minutes to secure a victory which evoked memories of Japan's famous 1-0 win over Brazil in the Olympic tournament in 1996.
With a young side bolstered by the likes of Jordi Alba and Juan Mata, both members of Spain's victorious Euro 2012 squad, the Spanish had been expected to collect a straightforward three points in their opening Group D game.
Spain were left reeling on 34 minutes when Japan punished slack defending from a corner to score through Otsu.
Takahiro Ohgihara swung in an inviting corner from the right and Otsu managed to get goalside of Martin Montoya to jab a low shot past the stranded Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea. Japan's players celebrated wildly and it got worse for Spain just before half-time when defender Inigo Martinez was sent off after a clumsy tangle with Kensuke Nagai.
The dismissal looked harsh but Martinez was clearly grabbing a handful of Nagai's shirt so could have few complaints with the decision. Japan continued to look threatening even after the break.
First Published: Jul 26, 2012 23:46 IST