In their first match since 1971, Great Britain’s Olympic football team was beaten 2-0 in a warm up game by Brazil at the Riverside Stadium.
It was Stuart Pearce’s first game in charge of the multinational Team GB squad, mainly consisting of English youngsters and experienced Welsh internationals, and they fell well short of the mark against a strong South American side. Sandro and Neymar scored the only goals in front of a good home crowd.
Naymar produced an outstanding out-swinging free-kick which none of the defenders reacted to, allowing Tottenham’s Sandro to loft his header over Jason Steele and into the far corner. Naymar was a tricky customer all night for Team GB, and doubled the Brazilian’s lead from the penalty spot after Hulk powered his way past Micah Richards.
Steele nearly reached the ball as it was fired into the bottom right hand corner, but it was placed to perfection by Naymar.
Jack Butland replaced the Middlesbrough goalkeeper in the second half and made a string of excellent saves, including a close range header from Alexander Pato. Butland first denied Oscar from range, before a reflex one-handed save low to his right to deny Neymar. An excellent cross nearly beat Butland via Pato’s flick but Butland was equal to it.
Team GB’s best move came from Ryan Giggs’ control in the centre of midfield, passing the ball with one or two touches before the ball was worked out to Danny Rose who superbly crossed for Craig Bellamy who was denied by an excellent save, although the Welshman had already been flagged for offside.
Brazil never really looked in danger in this game, and proved they’re worthy of the ‘favourites’ tag to win Gold in this year’s Olympic Games.
Having only congregated this group of players in the last two weeks, Team GB clearly haven’t had enough time to prepare for this tournament, compared to the majority of the other sides in the tournament.
18,000 fans watched the side at the Riverside Stadium in their first and only warm up match.
Team GB coach Stuart Pearce is optimistic the side will be ready to take on a strong field, starting next Thursday. “Next week is the most important one for us,” Pearce told BBC Sport. “Brazil are a very good side and well ahead of us in terms of games together and fitness.”
Pearce went on to add, “We played against one of the most outstanding Olympics sides and they are one of the teams to knock over in this tournament if you are going to win,”
Team GB face Senegal in their first group match 24 hours before the opening ceremony next Thursday at Old Trafford, before taking on the United Arab Emirates the following Sunday at Wembley. Their final game takes place against Uruguay on Wednesday 1st August at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.
The Gold Medal Match takes place at Wembley Stadium on August 11th.
Man of the Match: Neymar