Team GB 0-2 Brazil: 5 Things Learned About Team GB Ahead of Olympics
The Great Britain men's football team learned a lot in their only warm-up match ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, despite losing 2-0 to Brazil in Middlesbrough.
Great Britain failed to trouble Brazil at all in the first-half, but did provide a threat in the second-half—though the result was never in doubt.
And ahead of their opening Group A game against Senegal on Thursday, here are five things we learned about Team GB.
They're Not Winning Gold
One thing is absolutely certain prior to the tournament: Team GB are not winning gold in the men's football.
Stuart Pearce's men failed to cope with Brazil's superior technical and tactical ability, being bypassed in midfield with their opponent's slick passing and the defenders chasing shadows thanks to the movement and link-up play of Neymar, Hulk, Leandro Damiao and others.
If Great Britain plan to win gold, they'd have to beat either Spain or Brazil.
And considering they can't read or keep up with Brazil's passing and movement, it doesn't look like happening this summer.
They Haven't Gelled
Misplaced passes, lack of partnerships, little understanding of teammates' movements and breakdowns in defensive communication were all symptomatic of Team GB's performance against Brazil.
Unlike the Brazilians, the British had played just one match together (behind closed doors) prior to their official warm-up game against the Selecao, and it showed.
The team haven't gelled at all yet, and unless they can understand each other's styles better in the next five days of training before their Group A opener, Great Britain will do very well to get a bronze medal.
Flashes of Talent
For all their inadequacies compared to the top teams, Team GB do have talented players in their ranks, which was shown in glimpses against Brazil.
Left-back Neil Taylor was reliable in defence and got forward well, and also put in some impressive tackles on Neymar.
Danny Rose was a threat on the wing and whacked in a plethora of useful crosses, while in the middle Joe Allen looked very comfortable on the ball despite consistent pressure.
And if Daniel Sturridge can see more of the ball in future matches, the goals could be flooding in against the weaker teams.
Jack Butland Is Undisputed No.1
Jack Butland made scouts everywhere pay attention with his performance in the second-half for Team GB against Brazil.
Showing great agility, shot-stopping and reading of the striker's game, as well as good communication with and organisation of his defence, Butland kept the scoreline respectable for his team despite a number of golden opportunities for the opposition.
Producing five very good saves from Neymar, Lucas Moura, Alexandre Pato and Oscar dos Santos, Butland undoubtedly will be Team GB's no.1 for the tournament.
Stuart Pearce's Team Plays the Right Way
One positive of Team GB and the future of British football is the way Stuart Pearce has got his team playing.
Trying to match the likes of Brazil, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc, Pearce has got the younger generation playing passing football—building play from the back and working it through the midfield.
And with players like Ryan Giggs, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Tom Cleverley in the midfield—all players with high technical ability—such a style could work for Pearce's men.
If Team GB can at least get a medal from the tournament, such a style could stick in the junior international levels for the British teams, and eventually make its way to the senior side, which will only be good for British football.
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