The Spanish Olympic team suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Japan in their opening match of the London Olympics at Scotland’s Hampden Park.
Yuki Otsu’s first-half strike proved enough to claim all three points against Luis Milla’s men, who also had Inigo Martinez dismissed five minutes before the break, yet the margin of victory could have been much greater if the Japanese had taken all their chances.
Spain started the game strongly, enjoying plenty of possession, and Chelsea’s Juan Mata made goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda work to keep out his early effort.
Even so, it was Japan that took the lead on 33 minutes when Otsu escaped his marker Martin Montoya to bundle home a corner, with David de Gea in the Spain goal looking surprisingly hesitant.
Hiroshi Kiyatoke should then have doubled the advantage following Alvaro Dominguez’s poor backpass, before Spain were dealt a blow on 40 minutes when Inigo Martinez was harshly sent off, having been adjudged to have brought down Kensuke Nagai when he was through on goal.
After the break Japan continued to create opportunities on the break, with the Spanish rearguard looking all at sea on several occasions, and Keigo Higashi, Nagai and Kiyotake could all have put their team out of sight if not for some wayward finishing.
Spain’s only worthy effort of note in the final 45 minutes came from Jordi Alba, who shot straight at Gonda, and Japan had another glorious chance in stoppage time when Hotaru Yamaguchi fired wide of an open goal after Nagai had been denied once again.
Japan’s one-goal victory means they now top Group D after Morocco and Honduras drew 2-2 earlier in the afternoon.
Boss Milla praised Spain’s opponents afterwards and tried to remain upbeat about the loss.
“Japan played a great game but I tried to be positive in the dressing room because I feel we still have two more opportunities.
“We have a match in three days time and we need to improve things and work on our mental preparation, because at this level you need to look after the small details.
“We must be stronger and more consistent;” he told the official website of the Spanish Football Federation.
Spain 0-1 Japan
Scorers: Otsu 33 (J)
Spain: De Gea; Montoya, Dominguez, Alba; Koke (Tello 81), Isco (Romeu 63), I Martinez, J Martinez; Mata, Adrian (Herrera 56), Rodrigo
Japan: Gonda, Tokunaga, H Sakai (G Sakai 74), Yoshida, Suzuki; Ohgihara (Yahamura 86), Higashi, Yamaguchi, Kiyotake; Otsu (Saito 46), Nagai
Referee: Geiger (USA)