It's underway, and we're quite enjoying it. Here are five things to take from the opening games.
The competition is wide open
Most tipsters had expected Brazil and Spain to walk their way to the final, and contest the gold medal. The Selecao did their bit, but Spain were surprise losers against Japan. Spain now risk failing to top Group D, setting up a tasty quarter final clash against Brazil. This is bad news for both countries, halving their chances of landing a medal, but great news for everybody else.
Chelsea have a gem in Oscar
There was a reason Chelsea acted quickly to snap up Oscar, and it is because on the evidence of last night's showing at £25 million he looks a bargain. The 20-year-old pulled the strings in midfield, creating goals and looked assured throughout. Had Chelsea waited until after the Olympics, there is every chance his price would have risen further, and competition for his signature would have increased.
Japanese football is rising rapidly
After the promise of the 2002 World Cup, Japanese football was slow to move forward and four years later they failed to build on it. At the World Cup in 2010 they stunned everyone with their technically gifted players, with Honda the driving force. Even without him, Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa, and Arsenal's Miyaichi, Japan showed their strength in depth, as their talented youngsters beat World Champions Spain 1-0. They now appear to be genuine contenders for a medal.
Gaston Ramirez is the real deal
Gaston Ramirez has been linked all summer with a move to the Premier League, and if you haven't seen him in action before yesterday, you now know what all the fuss is about. Manchester City, Tottenham, and most strongly Liverpool, have all been linked with £20 million bids for the Uruguayan. After his superb free-kick yesterday, Udinese may just up their asking price, but it may also see his suitors increase their efforts to sign the young midfield talent.
Great Britain a still work in progress- but to the joy of fans
The action for Great Britain is as challenging off the pitch as on it, but supporters are trying. Fans taking on a new team is a rarity, and asking them to suddenly come up with a set of chants is always going to be a struggle. Clapping and shouting 'GB' was what it amounted to, but overall supporters seem to be enjoying the experience, and the novelty factor. The match was well attended, and with clubs travelling abroad to spend their pre-season, it is a chance for fans to get their football fix in a quite unique offering. On the pitch, it was a frustrating night for Pearce's side. They improved from their game against Brazil, and a point is not the the end of the world, and Senegal were a dangerous side. A big win against the UAE and a point against Uruguay should be enough to progress, but then Britain really should have closed out the game at 1-0 up.
Are you enjoying the football so far?
image: © buggolo