Published Friday 27 July 2012

New Zealand will be hoping their Olympic fortunes change once the games officially begin.
As has happened previously, the Olympic football tournament has begun before the opening ceremony and both the New Zealand men’s and women’s football teams have started their campaigns with defeats.
The women’s team, the Football Ferns, lost 1-0 to Great Britain in Cardiff on Wednesday and the men, the Oly-Whites, lost 1-0 to Belarus in Coventry today.
The New Zealand women were generally shaded, though they held on to 0-0 until halftime and only conceded the winner in the 64th minute. Arsenal defender Stephanie Houghton spectacularly bent a free kick around the New Zealand wall and beat goalie Jenny Bindon.
Though the New Zealand women have had good recent results, they faced a tough task against Great Britain. The Football Ferns are ranked 23rd in the world. By comparison, England are ninth.
The Football Ferns will now need to beat Brazil or Cameroon in their remaining pool matches to have any chance to progressing to the quarter-finals in the 12-team competition.
Ryan Nelsen’s Oly-Whites went well in the first half, but suffered a hammer blow right on half-time. Belarusian Dmitry Baga headed home from a corner to send his team into the tunnel with a 1-0 lead.
New Zealand, despite making much of the play, were unable to claw back the goal in the second half.
In their remaining pool matches, the Oly-Whites will play Egypt and Brazil.