- Associated Press - Thursday, July 26, 2012

GLASGOW, Scotland — At the Olympics, Spain’s European and world soccer titles aren’t much help.

The Spanish men, considered to be one of the medal favorites, lost to Japan 1-0 Thursday in their opening match at the London Games.

Spain’s Olympic team, which is mainly for players under 23, has two more matches to turn it around, against Group D opponents Honduras and Morocco.

“Our aim is to win both of them. We have to,” said Spain forward Juan Mata, who plays for Chelsea and is one of the three overage players. “We need to improve some things and we have to play better.”

Japan forward Yuki Otsu scored the only goal at Hampden Park, breaking away from his marker during a corner kick and tapping a shot past goalkeeper David de Gea in the 34th minute.

Spain finished the match with 10 men after center back Inigo Martinez was sent off while trying to stop Japan forward Kensuke Nagai.

In other opening group matches Thursday, host Britain got an early goal from Craig Bellamy in Manchester but settled for a 1-1 draw with Senegal when Moussa Konate equalized in the 81st minute. Also drawing Thursday was Honduras, which finished 2-2 with Morocco as D.C. United’s Andy Najar played the full 90 minutes.

Elsewhere, Brazil downed Egypt 3-2, Mexico tied South Korea 0-0, Uruguay beat the United Arab Emirates 2-1, Belarus topped New Zealand 2-1 and Switzerland drew 1-1 with Gabon.

Torch tours London, nears end of 8,000-mile journey

LONDON — The Olympic flame took a festive, valedictory lap around London on Thursday, taking in some of the sun-drenched capital’s most famous landmarks and getting a royal welcome on the second-to-last day of its trek across Britain.

The torch — carried by athletes, charity workers and celebrities — thrilled thousands of Londoners as it swept across Regent’s Canal in Camden, through the city’s newly renovated neo-gothic train station at St. Pancras and down the winding streets of the ancient City of London. Prince William, his wife Kate, and his brother Prince Harry posed for photographs as torch bearers took the flame to the steps of Buckingham Palace.

Security at forefront ahead of opening ceremony

Security jitters were being felt across the British capital on the eve of the London Olympics, with the biggest mall in Europe briefly evacuated Thursday and noticeable security changes in place at the Olympic Park.

Prime Minister David Cameron said, however, that he was confident that the games which Britain has worked to produce for years will be successful and safe.

A fire alarm forced authorities to briefly clear the massive Westfield shopping mall beside the Olympic Park on Thursday afternoon. Hundreds of people flooded into the street, a day before the Opening Ceremony on Friday night at nearby Olympic Stadium.

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