U.S. women's soccer marches on with 1-0 defeat of France

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Forget the opening ceremonies — the Olympic Games started yesterday

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - A goal from captain Carli Lloyd gave the U.S. women's soccer team a barely deserved 1-0 win over France on Saturday in a hard-fought match in Belo Horizonte.

The U.S. captain was in the right place at the right time with 63 minutes gone to knock the ball into an empty net from two meters out after Tobin Heath's shot had come back off the post and left keeper Sarah Bouhaddi stranded.

The win came against a French team that struggled to hit the target and failed to beat U.S. keeper Hope Solo in her 200th international match.

SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about the Summer Olympics

Solo, who was once again roundly booed by the Belo Horizonte crowd because of her comments on the Zika virus, managed to keep another clean sheet, saving well from Marie Laure Delie in the first half and then thwarting the same player with 15 minutes remaining.

French captain Wendie Renard was outstanding for France and hit the bar with a header early in the match.

The United States, however, improved in the second period and now sit top of Group G with maximum points from two games ahead of France, who have three.

Colombia and New Zealand, who play each other later on Saturday, both have zero points.

In the earlier game on Saturday, Canada beat Zimbabwe 3-1 in front of 30,000 fans in Sao Paulo.

Janine Beckie got two of Canada's three goals in a first-half spree, and Mavis Chirandu grabbed a consolation goal for the Africans with four minutes remaining.

Germany play Australia, South Africa take on China and the host nation Brazil play Sweden in the day's other games.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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