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If you thought the Olympics started on July 27, you were wrong. OK, you were also a little bit right. The London 2012 Olympic Games are set to start on July 27; the official website even has a countdown until then. The opening ceremony takes place on July 27. Since every site and source told you that the Games wouldn’t start until Friday, no one can blame you if you missed the games on Wednesday, July 25. Here’s what you missed.
The only Olympic event scheduled before the opening ceremony was soccer (or football, as they call it in London). Wednesday was the day for the women’s teams to face each other; the men’s first round is Thursday. The reason behind starting the soccer tournament before the opening ceremony is likely logistical. Soccer tournaments take a lot of time. Each match is just under two hours long (two 45-minute periods with a 15-minute break in between), and there are twelve teams per gender that qualified for the Games. Even so, the women’s gold medal match takes place on Thursday, August 9, and the men’s final will happen on Saturday, August 11, the day before the closing ceremony. The schedule was likely for logistical reasons, and the opening ceremonies were scheduled on a Friday to increase the audience.
To recap what you missed in women’s soccer on Wednesday, Great Britain bested New Zealand 1-0, Japan showed that they earned their 2011 World Cup by beating Canada 2-1, the United States won against France with a score of 4 -2, Brazil dominated Cameroon with 5 unanswered goals, Sweden beat South Africa 4-1, and The Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) shut out Colombia with a score of 2-0.
Thursday’s games pit Honduras against Morocco, Mexico against Korea, and Spain against Japan. Later in the day, the United Arab Emirates plays Uruguay and Gabon meets Switzerland. In the evening, Belarus and New Zealand, Brazil and Egypt, and Great Britain and Senegal all play each other.
If you’ve been watching the USA men’s basketball team play and you’re confused, those games don’t count as true Olympic events. They are exhibition games held in Spain and don’t count in the Olympic tournament. Some of Spain’s players made it clear that they understand these games don’t count and will use them for practice. Jose Calderon, playing on Spain’s Olympic team, implied that the team would be keeping some things a secret from Team USA during their exhibition game. “It’s an exhibition game. I think both teams are going to try to [use] different lineups, going to try maybe different stuff, but at the end of the day you’re not going to show a lot of things to the other team,” said the Toronto Raptors’ guard. Ah, so that’s why Spain lost the game 78 to 100 – they were keeping their best plays secret. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to keep some mystery to the game: many predict that these two teams will meet in the gold medal game.
So now you’re caught up on the Olympics before the Games have even officially started. Consider these soccer games the appetizer to your Olympic meal.