“The highlight of my career” is how Boreham Wood-based Arsenal Ladies’ defender Stephanie Houghton described her winning goal for Team GB against New Zealand.

Houghton's precisely-placed 63rd minute free-kick settled the contest and got the women’s football team off to a winning start in Cardiff.

The 24-year-old also put her name in the record books as her 25-yard strike was the first-ever Olympic goal from a British woman.

"Scoring the first goal of the Olympics has a nice ring to it,” she said. "Without doubt that's the highlight of my career."

Team GB had spurned a host of good chances in front of the 25,000 strong crowd before Houghton’s effort broke the deadlock.

Reflecting on the goal, she enthused: "It was something special and I'm sure my family are really proud. I don't think it will sink in for a while. I'm just glad it got us the win.

"We needed three points and we got them. We need to score more and hope to put that right in our next match against Cameroon.”

Team GB continue their campaign against Olympic newcomers Cameroon on Saturday and Beijing silver medallists Brazil on Tuesday with both games taking place at the Millennium Stadium.

The top two teams from the three groups advance along with the two best third-placed teams.