If Great Britian thought home advantage in this year’s Olympic games gives them an easy passage through to the soccer finals, they can think again. Last week’s 2-0 defeat against Brazil was the first match for the newly formed Team GB and they were put in their place by Olympic favourites Brazil.
There were some reasons for optimism from GB’s performance, notably the fact that Daniel Sturridge came through his first 45 minutes of action since fighting off a viral meningitis infection. Sturridge was considered by many to have been unlucky not to have represented England at Euro 2012 and it would have been a double blow to miss out on the Olympics. Coach Stuart Pearce was prepared to give the 22-year-old Chelsea striker as much time as possible to prove his fitness and he now seems assured of his place.
The Great Britain team is made up of players from England and Wales and for most this is a rare opportunity to perform at a major tournament. Goals from Sandro and Neymar quickly had Team GB in trouble and it is easy to see why Brazil are strong favourites for the Gold medal. Their team included Chelsea transfer targets Oscar and Hulk as well as the highly-rated Neymar and it was no surprise that they had too much skill for a Great Britain side that has only been together for thirteen days. Oscar has admitted that he has had a medical with Chelsea but is not prepared to make a final decision on the transfer until after the games.
The 20-year-old Internacional midfielder admits that is would be a dream to play in Europe and the Premier League but remains fully focussed on the Olympics. He joined Internacional from Sao Paulo in 2009 and scored a hat-trick in the Under-20 World Cup final last summer when Brazil beat Portugal. He is looking forward to showing the British fans what he can do.
One of Great Britain’s senior players Craig Bellamy was not unduly concerned by their defeat and agreed that they were taking on the best. He pointed out that the Brazilians have been planning for this tournament for a year and a half whereas the British team had only recent been formed. It is also the start of the new season and fitness levels will improve. There are no such concerns for the Brazilians who are looking forward to the Olympics for which they are generally priced at 7-4. Great Britain are 10-1 shots to win the Gold medal on home soil.