27 Jul 2012

Oly Whites beaten by Belarus

12:10 pm on 27 July 2012

The Oly Whites have lost their opening game of the men's football tournament at the London Olympics.

The New Zealanders were beaten 1-0 by Belarus at the City of Coventry Stadium.

The Oly Whites had the better of the first period but conceded a goal on the stroke of halftime when New Zealand goalkeeper Michael O'Keefe failed to clear the ball from a corner and it was headed home.

Striker Shane Smeltz says the first half performances from all the New Zealand players were very good, but Belarus's goal was the turning point of the match.

"It's just a shame at this level, you know we can't concede goals like that - it costs you. The way I feel is that the game sort of changed from then on."

He says it was difficult to get back into the game after the goal was scored.

Smeltz says the players need to take the positives from the first half and show they can play at Olympic level.

Japan earlier pulled off the first upset of the London Games, beating potential gold medalists Spain 1-0 at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

In other results on Thursday, Brazil beat Egypt 3-2 and Great Britain were held 1-1 by Senegal.

New Zealand's second pool game is against Egypt on Sunday and game three is against the favourites Brazil.