Great Britain vs. Senegal: Start Time, Viewing Info & Preview for Olympic Match

Stephen Sheehan@@StephenPSheehanCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2012

Ryan Giggs will lead Great Britain's squad.
Ryan Giggs will lead Great Britain's squad.Julian Finney/Getty Images

The last time Great Britain’s soccer team played in the Olympics, The Beatles hadn’t even released a record.

More than half a century and over 1.6 billion records later, things are about to change.

Great Britain will host Senegal, a first-time qualifier, after a 52-year layoff from men’s Olympic soccer.

The two teams, along with United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, comprise Group A of the tournament.

Although neither team has made an Olympic splash in recent memory, Great Britain certainly has a lot to play for, as they will have the chance to play at Old Trafford, Wembley and Millennium Stadium.

With a strong tournament performance, Great Britain will have a chance to prove it’s back and better than ever.

Where: Old Trafford, Manchester, England

When: Thursday, July 26, 3 p.m. EST

Live Stream: NBC Olympics

Great Britain Team Breakdown

With only three over-age players allowed, head coach Stuart Pierce was faced with whether to keep David Beckham on the Olympic squad. 

In a controversial decision, Pierce opted to not include Beckham—one of the sport's biggest icons—on the final roster (via Paul Kelso of The Telegraph)

Instead of keeping the man who has represented Great Britain in over 100 matches, Pierce selected 38-year-old Ryan Giggs as team captain. 

Although he's no a spring chicken, the 2012 Summer Olympics marks the first significant international tournament of Giggs' career. 

The outside midfielder is renowned for his energy, effort and ability to set up scoring opportunities for his teammates. 

In addition to the wily team captain, Great Britain's squad features a dynamic young playmaker in Aaron Ramsey. 

The Arsenal star proved to be a worthy replacement for Cesc Fabregas as an attacking midfielder for Arsene Wenger's squad. 

At just 21 years old, it'll be interesting to see how Ramsey responds to playing under the intense pressure and scrutiny of the world's biggest tournament. 

Defensively, Great Britain's hopes rest on one very young man—Jack Butland. 

Incredibly, Butland is just 19 years old, half the age of his team captain. 

Despite his youth, the 6'4" goalkeeper has been an active member of Great Britain's program, playing at every level up to the under-21 team. 

If his team has any hope of a strong performance, it'll fall on Butland to keep Great Britain afloat. 

Senegal Team Breakdown

A decade ago, Senegal, a little-known team from West Africa, pulled a major upset by defeating defending champion France in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup. 

Although beating Great Britain wouldn't be on par with that monumental victory, getting a win against the host team would certainly go a long way to putting Senegal back on the map. 

If there's one thing that Senegal can fall back on, it's their ability to score. 

Led by 27-year-old Dame N'Doye, the team's group of forwards certainly knows how to find the back of the net. 

N'Doye, who has starred for FC Copenhagen, has scored four goals in 12 appearances with Senegal's national team. 

During his four-year tenure with the Danish club, the 6'1" striker netted 59 goals in 104 appearances. 

Along with 23-year-old Ibrahima Balde, Senegal's front line features plenty of nifty goal scorers who play with great pace.

Prediction: Senegal will certainly challenge Great Britain's defense, but the depth and experience of Great Britain's squad will prevail. 


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