Despite all the hullabaloo surrounding Danny Boyle’s epic “Isles of Wonder” opening show on Friday 27 July, the London 2012 Olympic Games actually got started earlier that week at venues far removed from the nation’s capital.
We had tickets for the Group G women’s football opener at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on Wednesday 25, a double-header featuring the USA v. France and Colombia v. North Korea.
Talk about luck of the draw, getting to see the USA ladies play the beautiful game in our own back yard! Not only are they the reigning Olympic champs but when I lived stateside I expended a ton of energy rooting for them in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. That was back in the day when Mia Hamm was the poster girl of the team. They beat China in the final after making us all endure a nail-biting penalty shoot-out.
It was a no-brainer, then, that we would support Team USA and so left the house dressed in appropriate US-centric garb. I managed to dig out my old team top, although admittedly it was a bit of a snug fit and smelled kind of funny after being stuffed in a cupboard for so long. Hubby went with a 2003 League Championship Series Red Sox tee.
The souvenir seller outside the stadium reacting to market forces with his selection of national flags. We bought a star-spangled banner for a fiver. Bargain!
Like us, many of the locals had chosen a team for the day. We particularly liked the chap who, short of a string of onions around his neck, had channelled every French stereotype in the book when he pulled his match-day outfit together.
The impressively large number of Americans who had travelled to Glasgow to see their team. Big props to the guy from Colorado who was dressed as Uncle Sam.
France was also well-represented in the stands and the small contingent of Colombians deserve a shout for their non-stop energetic flag-waving for the ladies and gentlemen of the press. I believe there may even have been one or two Koreans in the crowd.
We were endlessly entertained by the French woman sitting just in front of us who got so overexcited during play that she broke the stick off her tricolore. But only after she’d poked herself in the eye with it. Zut alors!
Banging thundersticks and waving our new flag while screaming “USA, USA!” whenever our team put one in the back of the net.
The final score: USA 4 France 2
Game 2 kick-off being delayed for well over an hour by “flag gate” (the South Korean flag was shown on the big screen when the North Korean players were being introduced; they left the pitch in a mighty huff). As a result, we had to bail at half-time to catch our train home but I don’t think we missed too much. The final score was Colombia 0 North Korea 2.
The mystery contents of a “Hampden Pie”
Update Team USA retained the Olympic crown by beating current Women’s World Cup champions Japan 2 – 1 in the final, which was held at London’s iconic Wembley Stadium. France just missed out to Canada for the bronze, in a game that ended 1 – 0.
Some photos are posted below. Hope they give a flavour of the event…