Olympics-Soccer-U.S. recover to beat France after bad start

CARDIFF, July 25 (Reuters) - The United States rallied superbly to beat France 4-2 after making the worst possible start to their campaign for a third successive Olympic gold medal at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on Wednesday.

The U.S., who have won three of the four golds since women’s soccer was introduced to the Games in 1996, trailed 2-0 after only 14 minutes as goals from Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie put France into an albeit short-lived commanding position.

But they finished on top as two goals from Alex Morgan, and one each from Abby Wambach and substitute Carli lloyd gave them all three points from their opening Group G game.

But even after going two down, things continued to go bad for the champions when midfielder Shannon Boxx went off injured. She was replaced by Lloyd, but in the event, the match began to turn the U.S.’s way after that.

They halved France’s lead after 19 minutes when Wambach outjumped Corine Franco at a corner to head home and the U.S. were level at 2-2 after 32 minutes when Morgan equalised following a long clearance from goalkeeper Hope Solo, who had got a hand to France’s opener, but could not stop it going in.

Solo’s clearance had bounced past Wambach and France’s Wendie Renard, allowing Morgan to force the ball in over the head of French goalie Sarah Bouhadd.

With the wind in their sails, the U.S. were far more composed in the second half and Lloyd put them 3-2 ahead with a shot from 20 metres after 56 minutes that gave Bouhadd no chance of saving.

France, now desperate for an equaliser, pushed forward leaving gaps at the back allowing Morgan to score a fourth and final goal for the U.S. 10 minutes later.

The U.S. now face Colombia at Hampden on Saturday when North Korea take on France. (Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by John O’Brien)