Hosts Britain, taking part in
their first Olympic football event since 1960, will kick off the
bid for gold against Senegal at Manchester United's Old Trafford
on July 26 after the draw was made at Wembley on Tuesday.
Senegal reached their first Olympics after beating Oman 2-0
in a play-off at the City of Coventry Stadium on Monday.
"It is such an honour to play against Britain in the opening
match at Old Trafford," Augustin Senghor, the president of the
Senegalese FA, told Reuters.
"I know we were the last to arrive in these finals after the
playoff last night, but I hope that we will not be the first to
leave. We will also field our strongest team and see if our
players at Newcastle like Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse can be
Britain will also meet Uruguay and United Arab Emirates in
Brazil, five-times World Cup winners but never Olympic
champions, face Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand in Group C.
Spain, gold medallists in 1992 and the world and European
champions, take on Japan, Honduras and Morocco in Group D while
seeded Mexico meet South Korea, Gabon and Switzerland in Group
The first event of the Olympics takes place at Cardiff's
Millennium Stadium on July 25, two days before the opening
ceremony, when the British women's football team play New Zealand
in Group E. Cameroon and Brazil are in the same section.
Hope Powell, Britain's women's coach said: "[I am] really
excited by the prospect of playing the first event of the entire
Olympic Games. It gives us a tremendous chance to showcase our
sport and we cannot wait to play."
Women's world champions Japan face Sweden, South Africa and
Canada in Group F while Olympic champions United States take on
France, Colombia and North Korea in Group G.
The United States will face old
political foes North Korea on the football field once again.
The U.S. women, who will be chasing their fourth Olympic
title in five tournaments since the first at the Atlanta Games
in 1996, have played North Korea in the last four World Cups but
never before in an Olympic tournament.
France and Colombia will also be in the same Group G.
North Korea lost 2-0 to the top-ranked United States, twice
world champions, in a group-stage match at the 2011 women's
World Cup in Germany last June. Previous encounters have ended
with two wins and a draw for the U.S. team.
Communist North Korea, one of the most reclusive and
impoverished countries in the world, is subject to international
sanctions and has drawn further international condemnation this
month with reports that it is preparing a third nuclear test
after ones in 2006 and 2009.
The women's final is at Wembley on August 9 followed by the
men's two days later.
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