Olympics 2012 Men's football: Giant-killing Japan stun Spain

Updated: 26 July 2012 23:10 IST

Japan scored one of the greatest upsets in Olympic football history Thursday after stunning reigning world and European champions Spain 1-0 at Hampden Park.

Olympics 2012 Men's football: Giant-killing Japan stun Spain
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Glasgow:

Japan scored one of the greatest upsets in Olympic football history Thursday after stunning reigning world and European champions Spain 1-0 at Hampden Park.

Olympics 2012 | Schedule | India at Olympics | Medals Tally

A first-half goal from Yuki Otsu secured a famous victory for Japan that revived memories of their famous Olympic upset of mighty Brazil at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Japan coach Takashi Sekizuka tried to keep a lid on the euphoria after a memorable display which gives his side a great chance of reaching the knockout rounds.

"This is still just the first match of the group and we still have many games to play," Sekisuka said.

"First of all we need to get into the knockout round. But we look forward to playing them (Spain) again in the knockout round."

With a young side bolstered by the likes of Jordi Alba and Juan Mata, both members of Spain's victorious Euro 2012 squad, the Spanish had been expected to collect a straightforward three points in their opening Group D game.

However despite dominating possession 65 percent to 35 percent the Spaniards were rocked back by the ferocity of Japan's play throughout, and the Asians were well worth their victory.

Spain were left reeling on 34 minutes when Japan punished slack defending from a corner to score through Otsu.

Takahiro Ohgihara swung in an inviting corner from the right and Otsu managed to get goalside of Martin Montoya to jab a low shot past the stranded Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea.

Japan's players celebrated wildly and it got worse for Spain just before half-time when defender Inigo Martinez was sent off after a clumsy tangle with Kensuke Nagai.

The dismissal looked harsh but Martinez was clearly grabbing a handful of Nagai's shirt so could have few complaints with the decision.

Japan continued to look threatening after the break and should have made the game safe in the final few minutes only for Nagai and Hotaru Yamaguchi to squander golden chances.

Nagai ought to have found the net when clean through, only for De Gea to save two minutes from time.

Then in injury time, Yamaguchi blazed high and wide with the goal at his mercy after another swift Japanese counter-attack.

Spain goalkeeper De Gea tried to take positives from the defeat.

"Some win, some lose. It's mostly important to focus on the next game," De Gea said. "You have to focus on the next game and keep calm."

Topics : Football Yuki Otsu Juan Manuel Mata Garcia Jordi Alba Ramos Japan Spain Olympics 2012
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