The London 2012 Olympic Games saw its first competitive action yesterday afternoon as the Ladies’ football tournament got underway in Cardiff. Thursday evening sees the men’s game begin as Team GB begin their quest for gold against Senegal.
The question is, following Team GB’s 2-0 defeat in their warm up match against Brazil last Friday, how will this team win the gold medal. Last time Team GB won the gold was in 1908, London’s first Olympiad.
Stuart Pearce has the squad to play fast flowing, one-touch football, and the killer instinct when the chance comes in front of goal. There is pace throughout the team, and the incision from midfield.
So how will Team GB beat the likes of Brazil and Argentina to claim victory on home soil at Wembley on August 11th?
After a bit of a shaky display against the favourites, there were some positives to take from the game. The side will be learning to work with each other as each training session passes. They need to get their act together at Old Trafford before their 8pm kick-off.
The best form of attack for this side is the lone front man being supported by the wider men. Daniel Sturridge and Scott Sinclair are most likely to play either side of Bellamy, both then cutting inside from their respective flanks and offering another real goal threat.
The midfield can be sturdy in defence, getting men behind the ball, and breaking up the opposition’s play. Moving forward these midfielders such as Joe Allen, Tom Cleverly and Aaron Ramsey can provide an extra man up front. Captain Ryan Giggs will hold his central position as he will look to orchestrate play.
Defensively, Team GB look solid with attacking wing backs, providing natural width for the team whenever possible. Danny Rose looks comfortable at full back, as does Champions League winner Ryan Bertrand. Neil Taylor had a particularly good game against Brazil, and will be positive to make more good impressions as the tournament goes on. Micah Richards, fresh from a sublime season with Manchester City is a rock in central defence, and Steven Caulker continues to win plaudits for a solid second half display at the Riverside.
Jack Butland’s second half display was also refreshing to watch, he’s provided the nation with a new hero and someone who is definitely on his way to the Premier League.
Craig Bellamy looks dangerous and will play on the shoulder of the last defender, and with Ryan Giggs controlling the passes through midfield, there’s a great chance a high-lined defence can be exposed. With runners such as Aaron Ramsey from central positions, Team GB could be looking at an offensive five-man attack.
Pace and quick movement will be the way to victory with this young, energetic team. Retaining their positions and showing hunger to win the ball back will be the key to holding off opposing attackers and keeping clean sheets.
Team GB Tactics
Attacking Formation (4-3-3)
Defensive Formation (4-5-1)
Ones to watch:
It wouldn’t be difficult to create a list of world class superstar names from those competing in this summer’s games, but much harder to pick the eventual team winners.
Brazil: Pre-tournament favourites
The Brazilian squad boasts some of the best talent in football today. Pato , Hulk , Oscar, Lucas Moura and Neymar will line-up as the side to beat. Their attacking flair and finishing quality will most likely be too much for most nations, but they are notoriously known for their defensive mishaps.
Spain: Tournament dominators x 4?
Boasting 2 members from the recent Euro 2012 victory, Spain are undoubtedly the team of the moment and of the best ever. It goes without saying this will be an enjoyable side to watch over the next three weeks. These will be the next generation of Spanish superstars and will aim for gold and add the final piece to their world domination campaign.
Uruguay: The dark-horse
Their squad is littered with winners of the 2011 Copa America. There will be few unrecognised faces in the Uruguay side, with Premier league stars such as Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates of Liverpool featured, and the highly rated Edison Cavani. Uruguay will play Team GB in their final group game in Cardiff and will aim to put the cat among the pigeons by knocking out the hosts at the earliest possible stage.
For Team GB, their lack of preparation will be a concern, but also a chance for the squad members to prove themselves on the biggest world-wide stage. Winning gold won’t be easy, but will be a fully rewarding experience.