Japan's Yuki Otsu (L) reacts after scoring against Spain's David de Gea (in yellow) during their men's Group D football match at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland on July 26, 2012.
Japan has scored one of the greatest upsets in Olympic football history after stunning reigning world and European champion Spain 1-0 at Hampden Park.
A first-half goal from Yuki Otsu secured on Thursday a famous victory for Japan that revived memories of their famous Olympic upset of mighty Brazil in the 1996 games in Atlanta, AFP reported.
“It was an important win for us,” Japan captain Maya Yoshida was quoted as saying. “Spain are a very strong team in the group and we played well against them. We worked really hard and we will enjoy our victory. We can get a lot of confidence from this.”
Spain, bidding to add the Olympic title to their world and European crowns, finished with 10 men after midfielder Inigo Martinez was sent off just before halftime.
“This is still just the first match of the group and we still have many games to play," said Japan coach Takashi Sekizuka.
"First of all, we need to get into the knockout round. But we look forward to playing them (Spain) again in the knockout round," he said.
Spain, much expected to repeat their 1992 Olympic success when they won gold as hosts in Barcelona, had never lost to the Japanese at any age-group level and the result was Japan's most impressive since they beat Brazil in the 1996 Olympics.