World champion Japan scored twice in the first half Wednesday and then held on for a 2-1 win over Canada in its opening game of the women's Olympic football tournament.
Nahomi Kawasumi put the Japanese ahead in the 33rd minute and Aya Miyama doubled the lead in the 44th to put the favorites firmly in control at the City of Coventry Stadium.
Melissa Tancredi pulled one back from close range for Canada 10 minutes after the break, taking Rhian Wilkinson's low cross from the right wing and skipping in front of defender Yukari Kinga to score.
Japan, which upset the United States to win the Women's World Cup last year, started dominantly against the Canadians and only allowed a few opportunities in the first half.
But Canada made it more difficult in the second half with some sustained, composed play that led to Tancredi's goal.
Japan missed an early chance when Japan right back Kinga floated a ball into the box and Homare Sawa volleyed over the bar in the fifth minute.
But the Japanese fans had to wait for a half hour for their team to make the breakthrough. Miyama latched on to a pass into the penalty area and produced a classy backheel to set up Kawasumi, who made no mistake with a powerful shot from close range.
Midfielder Miyama scored 11 minutes later, taking advantage of a defensive mix up and angled a header past Canadian goalkeeper Erin Mclead.