Arsenal Ladies’ defender, midfielder and forward Stephanie Houghton led Team GB to an early Olympics victory yesterday (25 July), with a stunning free kick that secured a 1-0 win over New Zealand in the opening women’s football match at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Stylist HQ was on tenterhooks as a confident-looking British team fought to cut their way through New Zealand's solid diamond formation defence, in the first tournament of London 2012.
Then in the 64th minute of play, Houghton expertly curled in a free kick from the 20-yard mark, to raucous applause from the stadium crowd of around 24,000.
The perfectly executed goal turned out to be the defining moment of the match and one that coach Hope Powell hailed as a historic achievement.
ABOVE: The GB women's football team
“The message for the girls is that they made history today. The first women’s GB team ever. That will never change," Powell said. "We recognised that it was the first event. I said to the girls that it was an opportunity to showcase their talent. It’s the only Olympic event today. Embrace it, have a go."
The match represented a brilliant comeback for Houghton, who struggled with injuries before the 2007 World Cup and the European Championship in 2009.
The 24-year-old Arsenal defender spoke to Stylist earlier this year about inequalities in football, as we launched our Fair Game campaign to end sexism in sport.
"Men may be stronger than us, but tactically we're just as good as them," she said. "Ultimately I want to hear young kids who say, 'I want Cesc Fàbregas's boots' to turn round and say, 'I want the boots she's wearing."
Houghton said she was delighted to score the first goal of London 2012, describing it as "the best of my career."
The team will next face Cameroon, who suffered a 5-0 defeat by Brazil yesterday.
We personally couldn't be more thrilled by this winning start to Team GB's campaign, especially at the hands (or should that be feet?) of one of our Fair Game champions.
Join our Fair Game petition and find out more about the campaign here or help us today by tweeting: “I demand a better deal for women in sport #fairgame"
ABOVE: Stephanie Houghton's moment of victory