The gold-medal favorite United States, host Britain and Brazil qualified for the quarterfinal stage of women’s Olympic soccer Saturday.
The U.S. beat Colombia 3-0, Britain cruised past Cameroon 3-0 and Brazil needed a late goal to win 1-0 against New Zealand.
U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring for the Americans in the 33rd after receiving a pass from forward Alex Morgan in Glasgow, Scotland. Rapinoe curled a shot from 20 yards, and it was too high for Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda to get her hands on it.
The United States dominated possession in the first half and could have added more, but Colombia’s defense did just enough to keep the Americans at bay. Colombia also caused some problems for the U.S., but conceded possession over and over again in threatening positions.
In the second half, the U.S. ramped up the pressure and scored two goals. Abby Wambach was sandwiched between two defenders in the penalty area, and she was able to slide the ball past Sepulveda in the 74th. The goal made Wambach the all-time leading scorer in Olympic play for the Americans with six goals.
Carli Lloyd scored a third in the 77th. The Americans have six points in Group G from two matches, while the Colombians have zero.
While perennial gymnastics powerhouses China and Japan bobbled and wobbled their way through men’s qualifying in London, the Americans proved they’ve got the big skills to back up their big hopes. They didn’t count a single fall, and their final score of 275.342 was almost three points ahead of resurgent Russia.
The team final is Monday.
Surprising Britain, which has a full men’s team at the Olympics for the first time since 1992, hung onto third place after upstaging China in the first of the day’s three sessions. Germany is fourth.
Japan, the heavy favorite coming in, is fifth after several uncharacteristic errors by three-time world champion Kohei Uchimura. Defending Olympic champion China, which has won the last five world titles, is sixth after a splat-filled day.
American Danell Leyva posted the highest individual score, while American John Orozco was fourth, and the team had the highest total on floor exercise and high bar. Every American — Leyva, Orozco, Horton, Jake Dalton and Sam Mikulak — made at least one individual final.
Destinee Hooker had 21 points, and the United States held off late-charging South Korea 3-1 in their opening match at the London Olympics.
The fans at Earls Court chanted “Des-tin-ee! Des-tin-ee!” at one point as she dominated the 25-19, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21 victory.
The United States, which won the silver medal in Beijing and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world, jumped out to a 17-11 lead in the first set after one of Hooker’s seemingly effortless spikes, helping set the tone for the match.
Kim Yeon-koung had 29 points for South Korea, which rallied in the third set but ultimately fell short.
“We’re thrilled. We got the win,” U.S. captain Lindsey Berg said. “One down.”
The U.S. is vying for its first Olympic gold medal.
When Serena Williams completed her first-round Olympic victory at Wimbledon, she was cheered on by first lady Michelle Obama, who sat with Williams’ family during the 6-3, 6-1 victory over former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.
Williams picked up where she left off three weeks earlier, when she won her fifth Wimbledon title.
Also happy to be back on grass was Roger Federer, playing for the first time since he won a record-tying seventh Wimbledon title. The top-seeded Federer failed to convert three match points in the second set but recovered from a jittery stretch to beat Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
Federer, a fourth-time Olympian, and Williams have yet to win an Olympic singles medal.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters won her Olympic debut by beating Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-1, 6-4. Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic also advanced.
American John Isner won in his first Olympic match, making the most of a 15-inch height advantage to beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium, 7-6 (1), 6-4. Three other U.S. players lost Olympic debuts — Ryan Harrison, Donald Young and Christina McHale. Isner and Andy Roddick were eliminated in doubles, while top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan won.
The U.S. struggled against Olympic newcomer Croatia before pulling away for an 81-56 victory to kick off its bid for a fifth straight gold medal. Earlier, American-born Becky Hammon scored eight straight points down the stretch to help her adopted nation of Russia rally for a 58-53 victory over Canada on the opening day of Olympic women’s basketball.
Men’s road race
Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the cycling road race by prevailing in a two-man sprint to the finish after favorite Mark Cavendish of England dropped from contention. Vinokourov, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France, has said he will retire from cycling after the London Games.
Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, who are trying for a third consecutive gold medal, beat Australians Tasmin Hinchley and five-time Olympian Natalie Cook in the final match 21-18, 21-19. The No. 2 U.S. men’s team of Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb needed just 33 minutes to put away South Africans Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt.
• Defending champion Norway was defeated by France 24-23 in Group B opening match of the women’s handball.
• Former champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia opened his last Olympics with a comfortable 21-8, 21-8 win over Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic in badminton group play.
• Italy won the gold in men’s archery, beating the U.S. by one point on the final shot. It was America’s first medal of the games.
• The United States and Germany rowing teams won heats in the blue-rib and men’s eight, leaving a host of top crews to vie for places in the final.
• Australia took the early lead in Olympic equestrian eventing at Greenwich Park, with Germany and the United States close behind.
• Elisa Di Francisca completed an Italian sweep in the Olympics’ individual foil, winning the gold 12-11 in overtime.