Olympics begin with Sweden beating South Africa in football

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August 04, 2016
Australia's Samantha Kerr (right) fights for the ball with Canada's Allysha Chapman during the 2016 Summer Olympics football match at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yesterday. (AP Photo)

RIO DE JANEIRO, AP:

The first Olympics in Brazil are underway - aptly with a game of football in the sport's spiritual home. Just not a very memorable one.

Sweden's women beat South Africa 1-0 in a drab group-stage game yesterday in front of a sparse crowd of only a couple of thousand spectators in Rio de Janeiro. It was settled by veteran defender Nilla Fischer opening her third Olympics by scoring in the 75th minute.

The Olympic Stadium should be far fuller and more boisterous later in the day when the hosts are in action. Brazil's women begin their quest for a first Olympic football title against China, a day before the men's team opens against South Africa in the capital Brasilia.

Organisers will be hoping the 14 games being played yesterday and today will see excitement build ahead of tomorrow's opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium, which hosted the World Cup final two years ago.

The Olympic Stadium is also known as Joao Havelange Stadium, named after the 100-year-old Brazilian who led football's governing body FIFA for 24 years. Havelange stepped down as honourary president of FIFA in 2013 to avoid possible suspension for taking kickbacks.

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