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Olympic Men's Football Tournament Kicks Off in China

The Olympic men's football tournament is underway, as 16 teams battle for the gold medal. VOA's Jim Stevenson has this recap of the early action, just one day before the official opening ceremonies in Beijing.

The U.S. men got off to a better start Thursday in their Olympic campaign than the women did a day earlier. The U.S. women lost 2-0 to Norway.

In the men's match, after a scoreless first half in Tianjin, Stuart Holden found the net in the 47th minute against Japan. His score was enough to win a close 1-0 decision.

In the other Group B game, the Netherlands and Nigeria played to a scoreless draw (0-0). That result puts the U.S. men at the top of the group, with two first round contests remaining.

Group A games were played in Shanghai, where South American power Argentina took control with a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast. Australia and Serbia tied at 1-1.

In Shenyang, five-time World Cup champion Brazil was a 1-0 winner over Belgium. Brazil, which has never won an Olympic tournament, now leads the standings in Group C after host China and New Zealand finished with a one-goal draw (1-1).

Reigning World Cup champion Italy had little trouble against Honduras in a 3-0 Group D shutout in Qinhuangdao. Brazil was pushed to the top of the early group standings thanks to a 1-1 draw between Cameroon and Korea.

The men's tournament will continue throughout the games in China, The bronze medal game will be on Friday, August 22 in Shanghai. The championship is the next day in the so-called "Bird's Nest," Beijing's National Stadium.