The North Korean women's football team staged an hour-long protest after organisers mistakenly showed the South Korean flag on the big screen inside the stadium as the players warmed up on the pitch.
The players walked off the pitch for an hour and refused to start their match against Colombia.
Earlier the first game staged in Glasgow had been a success with 15,000 fans turning up to watch the USA beat France 4-2.
But chaos descended just before the second game was due to start.
More than 3000 people inside the stadium and millions more around the world watching on television witnessed the debacle.
The North Korean team were only persuaded to return when the sides were announced again with each player's face displayed next to the correct flag.
The game had been due to kick off at 7.45pm but eventually started at 8.50pm. Many people decided to leave the stadium early because of the long delay.
Steph Bridge, 26, from Bridgeton, said she was planning to stay for the second match but it had got too late.
She said: "It is not great in terms of the opening event. It is something you would expect them to get right. It is a shame it has happened on the opening night."
Joanne Nichol, 36, left with her two sons, Connor, 11, and Arran, 13, before the second match started.
She said: "They could have told us more because the crowd didn't know what was going on."
Another man, who did not want to be named, said: "It is shambles. They never announced what went wrong."
A statement from Games organisers Locog said: "The South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package. Clearly this is a mistake. We will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again."
The mistake occurred as the teams warmed up, with the North Koreans noticing that their faces were being pictured alongside the South Korean flag.
South and North Korea share a border but are locked in a political and military stalemate.