London 2012: Games kick off with Team GB football win

Britain's Stephanie Houghton celebrates with her team mate Casey Stoney after their women's Group E football match against New Zealand at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff Attendance at the Millennium Stadium was nearly 40,000

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The first event of the Olympics has taken place, ending in a win for Team GB in the women's football in Cardiff.

The home team kicked off 18 days of sport with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium.

But events did not go so smoothly at Glasgow's Hampden Park, where the North Korean team walked off in protest after the South Korean flag was displayed beside players' names on a screen.

Kick-off was delayed by an hour. London 2012 organisers have apologised.

Earlier, an RAF Typhoon was scrambled at about 11:30 BST after a commercial airliner lost contact with air traffic control over airspace in the north of the UK, the Ministry of Defence said.

The fighter was stood down after contact was restored.

The MoD said it was not related to Olympic security and stressed the response was a standard procedure, although the plane flew out of Northolt where some Typhoons are based for the duration of the Games.

Meanwhile, thousands of Games spectators are arriving in London, with Heathrow expected to have had its busiest day ever.

And a public sector strike by border staff, due to take place on the eve of Friday's opening ceremony, has been called off by union officials.

'Teething problems'

The first event of the Games saw long queues outside the Millennium Stadium, even after kick-off at 16:00 BST, as several hundred spectators had their bags checked.

Stadium manager Gerry Toms apologised but said only spectators who had taken large bags had been delayed. He said every ticket-holder had been in the stadium by 16:04.

Wednesday's results

  • Great Britain 1-0 New Zealand
  • Japan 2-1 Canada
  • USA 4-2 France
  • Brazil 5-0 Cameroon
  • Sweden 4-1 South Africa
  • North Korea 2-0 Colombia

"The difficulty was that people didn't listen to the advice they were given on their tickets which said do not bring bags," he said.

"There were people bringing rucksacks, people bringing shopping from the city centre and that slowed the process down."

He agreed there had been "teething problems" and urged people to follow advice on what to bring.

Parts of the stadium were empty but Games organisers said the number of tickets available for the event had been reduced from nearly 75,000 to 40,000 last week.

Organisers said attendance across the two games at the stadium totalled 30,847. A spokesman described the attendance as "unprecedented" for women's football in the UK in recent years.

Four other matches in the same competition also took place at Hampden Park and the City of Coventry Stadium.

In other Olympics news:

  • Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Tottenham, north London, to greet the Olympic flame. Olympian Daley Thompson was the final torchbearer of the day
  • The launch of Games Lanes in London has caused confusion, with some of the lanes still open to everyone, and signs on some stretches apparently offering conflicting advice to motorists
  • The cable car service over the Thames, which links two Games venues in Royal Docks, east London, and Greenwich, south-east London, was briefly suspended owing to "technical issues"
  • The final dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony is taking place at the Olympic Stadium, in Stratford, east London
  • Moroccan 1500m runner Mariem Alaoui Selsouli has failed a drugs test and will miss the Olympics. And the International Association of Athletics Federations said nine other athletes have failed tests
  • Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou has been expelled from her country's Olympic team over comments she posted on Twitter mocking African immigrants. She later apologised on Twitter
  • Games organisers are to email some spectators with tickets for the 10m platform diving to tell them they may not have a full view of each dive. They will be offered a refund, Locog said

On Wednesday morning a public sector strike by border staff, due to take place on the eve of the opening ceremony, was called off by union officials.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka announced the suspension after "major progress" in the dispute.

The union had been planning the action in protest at job losses. Immigration and passport workers at Heathrow and other airports had been among those due to take action on Thursday.

Mr Serwotka said 800 new jobs were to be created in the Border Agency and 300 in passport offices.

BBC Olympics coverage online

Olympics images

Recruitment adverts had already been placed for the jobs at sites including Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports, the union added.

BBC News has also seen two internal Civil Service documents, each advertising 400 jobs in the Border Force.

But a Home Office spokesman said: "We have made no concessions to the PCS and are not creating any new jobs in response to their threat of strike action."

The spokesman said a recruitment drive for additional staff, which began in May, was part of existing plans to restructure the Border Force.

"Unfortunately, due to an administrative error, a figure of 400 posts was repeated in both adverts by mistake. This will now be corrected," he said.

The BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said he understood the 800 figure had not been "signed off" by ministers before the adverts were published and the number of vacancies to be filled would be considerably lower.

Mr Serwotka later responded by saying the Home Office's claim it mistakenly advertised 800 border jobs was "shambolic or a deliberate lie".

He called for the advertised jobs to be honoured.

Meanwhile, the Olympic Route Network (ORN), made up of 175 miles of roads connecting up the main Olympic venues across the country, has come into force.

At the scene

A pathway of Olympic pictograms leads you through the landmarks of the South Bank of the River Thames, as tourists mingle with locals, and Olympic fever grips London.

Families pose for pictures next to statues of the Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville.

Each figure reflects the landmark next to which it is positioned. The most striking is Pirate Wenlock next to the Cutty Sark, or the stained-glasses themed Southwark Wenlock, next to the cathedral.

Street performers ply their trade next to sporting graphics, hoping their tried and tested acts are greeted with new enthusiasm by this fresh audience.

Hospitality centres for competing countries have sprung up around the city.

Switzerland has taken over Glaziers Hall to showcase Swiss culture, offering free chocolate to passers-by.

It is designed to make it easier for athletes and officials to get around the Games and has seen junctions blocked off, bus stops moved and parking bays suspended.

As part of the ORN, designated Games Lanes in London are in operation between 06:00 BST and midnight and only open to VIPs, athletes and accredited media.

Ordinary motorists going into the lanes face fines of £130.

But the Games Lanes are intended to be flexible to traffic needs, resulting in confusion among motorists on the A40 in west London on Wednesday morning as electronic signs suggested they could use the lane, alongside fixed signs warning that the lane restriction was being enforced.

Leon Daniels, Transport for London's managing director of surface transport, said people accidentally straying into the lanes would not automatically incur a fine.

He said: "We don't want enforcement, we want compliance. Nobody will be harshly dealt with if the Games lane becomes activated after they pass it."

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