Kick-off for the London 2012 Olympics as Team GB beat New Zealand in Cardiff


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The Independent Online

This afternoon at 4pm Hope Powell's Team GB side kicked-off against New Zealand in the women's football event.

While we will have to wait another two days for the official opening of the 30th Olympic Games, the start of the match at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium marked the beginning of the sporting action.

And the women got Team GB off to the best possible start by beating their opponents 1-0 thanks to a fine free-kick from Steph Houghton.

Lord Coe, the chairman of the Games organising committee was in the Welsh capital before the match where he told security and volunteer staff working at the stadium to enjoy a "once in a lifetime" experience.

Lord Coe said this morning: "One of the commitments we made when we were bidding, and I felt strongly about this as somebody who was not brought up in London, was this had to be about the whole of the UK, and this is a really strong signal to our commitment to that concept.

"A lot of the Games are in London but this is not uniquely a London story.

"When I came in this morning I felt I was arriving in an Olympic city, have been to Cardiff plenty of times but it had a different feel about it today."

Coe did not wait to attend the game itself, although Sepp Blatter was watching. The Fifa president was among the crowd of 40,000 - well short of the 74,500 seats available in the Millennium Stadium.

While tickets for most events have been in high demand, football tickets beyond the Team GB men's side have been hard to shift. Although today's victory will likely increase interest.

The match marks the first Olympic Games action in Britain since 1948 and ends the 2,576-day period of waiting since London won the right to host the Games on July 6, 2005.

All results from the women's football - and every other event at the Olympics - can be found by clicking here.