US beats France in women's Olympic soccer; Japan wins

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Alex Morgan of the USA celebrates after scoring a goal against France during their women's Group G football match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday.

Alex Morgan scored twice as the US came back from two goals down to defeat France 4-2 in its opening Group G match in the Olympic women's soccer tournament. World champion Japan and Brazil both won.

North Korea delayed the start of its match with Colombia because of a dispute over its flag.

Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie scored within two minutes of each other to put France ahead in the first 15 minutes at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The US drew even by halftime on goals from Abby Wambach and Morgan.

Carli Lloyd put the Americans ahead in the 56th minute, and a second goal from Morgan 10 minutes later sealed the match.

"Somehow we always like to make things a little dramatic," Wambach told reporters. "The truth is, we really believe in ourselves. There's nothing that's going to stop us. Two goals, people getting injured, there's one thing that we have on our mind and it's gold."

The Americans qualified for the Olympics without conceding a goal in the regional tournament. Their only loss this year came against Japan, which defeated the US 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in March.

Japan, the Women's World Cup champion, held on to defeat Canada 2-1 in Group E and host Britain beat New Zealand 1-0 in Group F in earlier matches. Brazil shut out Cameroon 5-0.

Japan took the lead in the first half in Coventry on a Nahomi Kawasumi goal set up by Shinobu Ohno, and made it 2-0 when Aya Miyama headed into an unguarded goal.

Canada got a 55th-minute goal from Melissa Tancredi.

"˜The stage'

"This was the stage where I dreamt (of appearing) for a long time so I was very happy to be here," Kawasumi said to reporters. "I was not nervous and I was able to enjoy the game."

Brazil's Marta, voted female player of the year six times in a row by FIFA, scored twice as Brazil defeated Cameroon. She scored in the 73rd and 88th minute after Francielle scored in the seventh minute and Renata Costa three minutes later to give Brazil control of the match in Cardiff. Cristiane scored in the 79th minute.

The British Broadcasting Corp. said North Korean players refused to play because their lineup was displayed on the scoreboard at Hampden Park along with a picture of the South Korean flag before the Group G match, which was scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m. local time.

Game delay

The players took the field to warm up for the game at 8:25 p.m. Play started at 8:50 p.m.

"Today ahead of the women's football match at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown on a big-screen video package instead of the North Korean flag," the London Olympic organizing committee said in a statement. "Clearly that is a mistake, we will apologize to the team and the national Olympic committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again."

Britain, which is making its Olympic debut, couldn't score until the second half in its opening match in Cardiff against New Zealand. Stephanie Houghton scored with a kick that curled into the bottom left corner.

"Really happy that we got three points," British forward Karen Carney told the Olympic News Service. "Hopefully we'll get more confidence after this. We had a nervy start, but we built on it and we're glad we got the win."

The London Games officially open in two days, although the women's and men's soccer tournaments start earlier. The men's event begins tomorrow.

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