MIDDLESBROUGH, England, July 20 – Brazilunderlined their position as favourites for Olympic gold whenthey gave a masterful performance to complete a 2-0 win overhosts Britain, who fielded a united team for the first time in41 years.
Brazil won the friendly with a header from Sandro and apenalty from Neymar just five days before the London Gamessoccer competition, which features an under-23 line-up withthree over-aged players, kicks off.
Brazil, seeking to win the Olympic title for the first time,sent a powerful message of intent to the other 15 teams in thecompetition with a silky display in their final warm-up beforethe Games.
““That took maybe 20 minutes at the start, but then weplayed very well for the rest of the half and the match.”
On an unusually sunny summer’s evening at the Riverside,there was excitement that the Olympics was drawing closer withthe theme from “”Chariots of Fire” reverberating around stadiumbefore kickoff and the uncommon site of the Union Jack flutteringin the breeze.
Britain struck gold in three out of four Games from 1900 but in recent years, fielding a Team GB has been blocked by theScottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland football associations amidfears that they might lose their independent status within FIFA.
No British team took part in Olympic soccer since aqualifying defeat to Bulgaria in May 1971 cost them a place inthe 1972 Munich Games but when London was awarded the Games, thehosts were obliged to compete.
Friday’s match was Britain’s only warm-up before the startof their Olympic campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford nextThursday.
Judging on this performance though, coach Stuart Pearce hasplenty of work to do over the remaining few days if Britain aregoing to come anywhere close to the golds they won in the farsimpler sporting times of 1900, 1908 and 1912.
Starting with seven Englishmen and four Welshmen includingcaptain Ryan Giggs, Britain looked uncomfortable on the ball andfar from a cohesive blend.
They granted Brazil too much time and space on the ball, andwith players like Neymar facing them, that was a dangeroustactic to pursue.
The opening goal came after a lack of communication in theBritain defence, allowing Sandro, who plays in London for Spurs,to loop in a header.
Neymar doubled the lead 10 minutes before the interval whenHulk was tripped by Micah Richards and the 20-year-old strikerbeat keeper Jason Steele from the spot.
Pearce stated the performance proved that Brazil are thefavourites for gold.
“”They are one of the outstanding international teams aroundnow, let alone Olympic teams or under 23 sides,” Pearce said.
“”This squad shows how seriously they are taking thistournament, I think they are all internationals apart from theirgoalie. “They are the team everyone will have to beat if youwant to win the gold medal.”
As well as the attraction of Brazil and Britain thatattracted 24,721 to the ground, a few thousand were also presentto watch the afternoon match between Britain’s women and Swedenwhich ended in a 0-0 draw. (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)
- Hartford Women's Soccer Set To Play Home Finale, Chasing America East Title
- Canada faces Honduras in qualifying
- WGA supports King's Cup final
- Suarez apologizes for snubbing Evra handshake
- Soccer Hosts Cedarville, Opens Horizon League Play at Wright State
- Warriors finish week with split on soccer field
- US Sports Camps Announces New 2012 Nike Soccer Camp Locations
- Rwanda : Musonye urges Cecafa clubs to strengthen teams
- David and Victoria Beckham News: Soccer Great on Vogue Cover, Family ...
- Soccer: Game bounced Kiwi to big time
Submited by admin - Comment RSS 2.0 - leave a comment - trackback