The 2012 London Olympics are underway with each team in the competition playing their opening match at the Games—some starting strongly and others, well, not so much.
Already we've seen drama and excitement, upsets and thrilling matches—and if you've missed anything from the opening match of the men's football competition, then have no fear.
We've got a complete recap from every match of the exciting Olympic slate so far, so read on to see how the favorites and the underdogs alike went in their opening encounter at London 2012.
Upset of the Round
There is little doubting that Japan's 1-0 victory over Spain was the upset of the round and could well turn out to be the biggest upset of the competition.
Japan were thought to be competitive, and after the favorites for the gold medal were reduced to 10 men, Samurai Blue found themselves in a great position to win the match.
Truth be told, they probably should have won by three or four goals given the ball and opportunities that they created throughout the match, but the three points are what mattered most and Japan were able to secure all three.
Best Performance so Far
As far as strong performances go, it's hard to look past Brazil's first half against Egypt, where they found the back of the net three times to take a commanding lead into the break.
They were nearly gunned down by their opponents in the second half—winning the match 3-2—but their first 45 minutes showed why they are considered one of the favorites for the gold medal at London 2012.
Sleeper Team to Watch
After their opening performance against Spain, you could definitely throw Japan into the mix here, but I'm going with another Asian nation as a possible sleeper team—South Korea.
They are currently in Group C—not one of the strongest groups at the Olympics—and have a real chance of progressing through to the knockout stages despite an opening-round scoreless draw against Mexico.
Many will remember Korea's sensational run at the 2002 World Cup, and they could well make a similar run at this year's Olympics Games—even with the flag debacle creating the less than ideal start to the competition.
United Arab Emirates vs. Uruguay
A match that Uruguay were expected to win comfortably did turn out as a positive result for the South Americans, but not after some unexpected resistance from UAE. Their counterparts were very impressive in the 2-1 defeat, and showed that they are not going to just make up the numbers at 2012.
Great Britain vs. Senegal
The hosts would have loved to start their Olympic campaign with a win but were forced to settle for a draw after a late equalizer from the African nation and a controversial no-call about a potential penalty ended the match at 1-1.
Stuart Pearce's men won't have minded the result, but would have desperately loved their three points—making their upcoming match against UAE one of the more intriguing fixtures of the tournament.
Mexico vs. South Korea
Another match where a draw was a fair result. Mexico could have broken the deadlock right on full-time when striker Raul Jiminez hit the post. However, it was not to be for the Mexicans, with South Korea showing they could really be a sleeper team at the tournament and stand a great chance of qualification through to the knockout stages.
Gabon vs. Switzerland
Gabon and Switzerland also played out to a draw—finishing the match at 1-1, with Switzerland reduced to 10-men and doing well to hang on for a point. After watching their early lead slip away and a plethora of attacking chances wasted, the Swiss nearly lost all three points when they Oliver Butt with just over 10 minutes remaining, but were able to secure a valuable draw.
Belarus vs. New Zealand
Bealrus picked up a 1-0 win over New Zealand, who, with Egypt and Brazil ahead, are unlikely to qualify through to the knockout stages of the tournament. The Pacific nation were very uninspiring throughout midfield, with Belarus' Dmitry Baga picking up the only goal of the game to give his country all three points.
Brazil vs. Egypt
As mentioned above, Brazil did manage to win 3-2 against Egypt, but the final score should never have been that close for the South American giants. They squandered their three-goal lead and almost lost the three points, though full credit to Egypt for fighting back and pushing the gold medal favorites the full 90 minutes.
Honduras vs. Morocco
Another draw, this time a 2-2 result as Morocco hung on for the points after having a man sent off in the final 20 minutes of the match. Morocco had earlier taken the lead through Abdelaziz Barrada's excellent finish, but found themselves down 2-1 early in the second half thanks to two goals from Jerry Bengtson. They would score one more goal to tie the match.
Spain vs. Japan
And without doubt the most incredible result of the opening round was Japan's 1-0 victory over Spain, a result that really should have been more impressive for the Japanese. They wasted several chances and Spain's David de Gea made plenty of quality saves to keep his country in the match, though they were unable to peg back the margin.
It's tough to say, but even without the red card, Japan could have still won this match—giving Spain lots to work on before their next match against Honduras.
What did you think about the opening round of Olympic competition?
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