London 2012 Olympics Focus – Group A

The main noise being made in Group A has come from the Great Britain camp, which is understandable considering the Olympics are being held in London. After a disappointing 1-1 draw with Senegal, where Team GB were subjected to a physical approach from their opposition, Stuart Pearce’s side face the United Arab Emirates tomorrow in a bid to get their first win of the tournament.

Captain Ryan Giggs has acknowledged that the pressure is on Team GB, but the squad are up to the challenge and ready to “answer the sceptics that are out there“. Giggs’ compatriot Craig Bellamy scored in the first half and many expected that goal to be enough, until Moussa Konate’s cool finish drew the Lions of Teranga level with 10 minutes to go. Team GB had chances – particularly a late effort from Bolton striker Marvin Sordell that struck the crossbar – but could not break through.

Many of the players were aggrieved by the tough-tackling antics by Senegal, especially Bellamy, who was on the receiving end of an awful tackle by Saliou Ciss. The Liverpool forward expects to be fit to face the UAE at Wembley tomorrow, despite tweaking medial ligaments at Old Trafford. There will be plenty of young English players desperate for a spot in the side, as they look to impress England boss Roy Hodgson, who is expected to be in attendance.

Team GB will be prepared for the UAE, who really should have gone 2-0 ahead in their opening game against Uruguay before eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat. They were applauded off the pitch and praised by the Uruguayan players for their tenacity and hard work that was eventually undone by the higher quality of their opposition. Team GB should be comfortable, but will have to take the UAE seriously if they want their first three points of the competition.

Uruguay went into the tournament as one of the favourites, with a strike force of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, but were tested wholeheartedly by the UAE in the first Group A game at London 2012. Gaston Ramirez and Nicolas Lodeiro gave La Celeste the victory and they now face Senegal looking to make it two wins from two, and send a message to the rest of the tournament.

Ramirez’s freekick to draw level against the UAE was sublime and he is a danger to the Lions of Teranga, as well as the other attacking talents Oscar Tabarez has at his disposal. Uruguay overcame a stern test in the UAE and will face another one against Senegal, before the two big guns of the group face each other in the final game at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday.

Senegal will be looking to cause an upset against Uruguay, taking solace from Japan’s surprising 1-0 defeat of the multi-talented Spain in Group D. If the Lions of Teranga can grab a point, they will blow the group wide open and may upset the odds to qualify into the quarter-finals. Group A has turned into an exciting prospect, and there will be plenty of fans in England’s national stadium to see whether Team GB can fire themselves into the knockouts.

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