The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games takes place on Friday 27 July in London, but Games fever breaks out all over Great Britain a full two days prior to that. The first matchday in the fifth edition of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament is on Wednesday, and the competition opens with a bang as the schedule features a number of enticing clashes.
Match of the day
USA-France, Glasgow, 17:00 (local time)
The venerable surroundings of Hampden Park provide a worthy setting for a first-class showdown between two of the gold medal favourites. Defending Olympic champions USA missed out on glory in the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011™ in a dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat to Japan, so the north Americans will be doubly determined to add to their glittering trophy collection this time around. However, the French finished an excellent fourth in Germany last year, heralding their arrival as members of the world elite. They will now be determined to have their say in the distribution of the medals at the London Games.
The other matches on opening day also promise local fans a treat. Current world champions Japan meet Canada and their star striker Christine Sinclair, while Brazil, finalists in the last two Women's Olympic Football Tournaments, set out in pursuit of gold against underdogs Cameroon. The biggest crowd of the day will enthusiastically get behind hosts Great Britain, who open the tournament against New Zealand in Cardiff. Sweden, who finished third at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, will seek to underline their medal ambitions in their meeting with South Africa, before a potentially action-packed opening day finishes with the clash between Colombia and Korea DPR.
Player to watch
If Brazil's Formiga appears for her team against Cameroon, she will become the only player to feature in every Women's Olympic Football Tournament to date. The 34-year-old midfielder has made a record 21 appearances at the event, returning home with a silver medal in 2004 and 2008. The veteran is hoping to step one place further up the podium on this occasion.
6 - USA have won their last five matches at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament. Should they beat the French, they would match the record of six consecutive victories set by Norway between 2000 and 2008.
"New Zealand have done a lot of work in the last 12 months, They work really well together as a unit. They have pace, they're aggressive and they run and run ridiculously for 90 minutes. In all areas they have tried to improve their game and we expect a tough encounter," Great Britain coach Hope Powell.
The schedule (all kick-offs local time)
Great Britain-New Zealand (Cardiff, 16:00)
Japan-Canada (Coventry, 17:00)
USA-France (Glasgow, 17:00)
Cameroon-Brazil (Cardiff, 18:45)
Sweden-South Africa (Coventry, 19:45)
Colombia-Korea DPR (Glasgow, 19:45)