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London 2012 lit up by football extravaganza

With 18 goals scored and a few red cards thrown in for good measure, the Olympics football tournament got underway with a bang.

Here's Total Football's round-up of the opening eight matches.

Group A

UAE 1-2 Uruguay

Tournament dark horses Uruguay had to come from behind to earn a hard-fought win against the United Arab Emirates at Old Trafford.

With Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in the starting line-up, La Celeste have been tipped as potential gold medalists, but they started poorly and fell behind to a well taken goal from Ismaeil Matar, after a wonderful through pass from Omar Abdulrahman.

However, Oscar Tabarez's side were level before the break, a stunning free-kick from Bologna forward Gaston Ramirez (pictured) flying into the top corner, giving Ali Khaseif in the UAE goal no chance.

Disappointed with his sides first half performance, Tabarez made a tactical switch at the break, replacing defender Matias Aguirregaray with the playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro, and the Botafogo midfielder's precise finish in the 56th minute was enough to give the South American's victory.

Great Britain 1-1 Senegal

A hard-fought match ended with Team GB having to settle for a point in their Olympic opener against Senegal at Old Trafford.

Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy gave the hosts the lead in the 20th minute, turning in after Micah Richards had headed back across goal from a Ryan Giggs free-kick.

A physical encounter gradually got away from Team GB though and they were fortunate to lead at the break, Mane Saido having missed a glorious opportunity when presented the ball by Great Britain keeper Jack Butland.

A second-half punctuated with tough tackles and petulant fouls should have seen GB awarded a penalty with less than 15 minutes remaining, but Souare Pape's challenge on Bellamy didn't even draw a decision from the officials.

And with eight minutes remaining, Senegal, who had pushed Team GB further and further onto the defensive, found an equaliser, Moussa Konate with a delighful chip over Butland to earn Aliou Cisse's side a share of the spoils.

Group B

Mexico 0-0 South Korea

A largely forgettable game at St James' Park saw the two sides in Group B have to settle for a draw.

The Asian side had much of the play, but failed to really trouble Jose Corona.

Indeed the three best chances fell to Mexico late on, but Marco Fabian blasted over from six yards, Giovani pushed his volley wide, whilst substitute Raul Jimenez clipped the outside of the post when one-on-one with Sungryong Jung.

Gabon 1-1 Switzerland

A Switzerland side shorn of perhaps it's two best under-23 players - Bayern Munich's Xherdan Shaqiri and Borussia Monchengladbach's Granit Xhaka - were held to a score draw by Gabon.

A fifth minute penalty from Admir Mehmedi, the promising Dynamo Kiev forward, gave the Swiss the lead, but Gabon, quarter-finalists at this year's Africa Cup of Nations, levelled before half-time through the quicksilver Saint-Etienne striker Pierre Aubameyang.

Both sides pressed for a winner, but neither could make the second half breakthrough, although Oliver Buff, the Swiss midfielder, was sent off for a second yellow card.

Group C

Brazil 3-2 Egypt

A classy first-half performance did just enough to earn Brazil victory against a tenacious Egypt at the Millennium Stadium.

Manchester United full-back Rafael da Silva gave the Selecao the lead in the 16th minute, latching onto a clever pass from new Chelsea signing Oscar, before driving home with his left foot from 15-yards.

Oscar, the playmaker who will join the European champions at the culmination of these Olympics, then teed up Leandro Damiao to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute.

The shining hope of Brazilian football Neymar had brought his full repertoire of tricks to Cardiff, and having tormented the Egyptian backline for the opening half-hour, he added the third with a bullet header from a Hulk cross.

However, Egypt fought back in the second-half, and reduced the arrears in the 52nd minute, skipper Mohamed Aboutrika, a winner of three African Cup of Nations titles, scoring from close range after Neto had only parried an initial attempt.

With renewed belief the north African side threw caution to the wind and scored a wonderful second goal in the 76th minute, substitute Mohamed Salah curling a left-footed strike past Neto.

Nevertheless, tournament favourites Brazil, who have never won an Olympic gold medal, were able to hold on for their victory.

Belarus 1-0 New Zealand

Belarus earned a deserved three points with a 1-0 win over New Zealand at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.

The only goal came on the stroke of half-time with Dmitry Baga heading home from a corner to beat Neil Emblen's side.

Group D

Morocco 2-2 Honduras

In the opening game of the tournament, Morocco and Honduras played out a wonderful 2-2 draw which could have gone either way and would have been a fitting opener to any major international tournament.

Abdelaziz Barrada put Morocco in front with an outstanding volley in the 39th minute, before two goals in nine minutes from Jerry Bengtson turned the game on its head.

The north African side were behind for only two minutes though before Sporting Lisbon's talented winger Zakaria Labyad equalised with a sumptuous chip over Mendoza to earn them a share of the spoils, which they hung on for despite the sending off of Zakarya Bergdich.

Spain 0-1 Japan

Having seen the senior side win the European Championships this summer, the heavily fancied under-23's got their Olympics campaign off to an auspicious start with a 1-0 defeat by Japan at Hampden Park.

With Iker Muniain only fit for a place on the bench - where he remained - Spain's tiki-taka lacked drive and penetration and they fell behind in the 34th minute when Yuki Otsu bundled home from a corner.

Seven minutes later Spain were reduced to ten men, Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez shown a straight red card for bringing down Kensuke Nagai, when clean through.

From then, La Roja created very little, and were fortunate not to have been beaten by more, only a mixture of David De Gea and poor finishing keeping the score at 1-0.

By Alex Richards

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