Great Britain's first Olympic game in 52 years ended in disappointing fashion on Thursday, as the host country tied with Senegal, 1-1, in the 2012 London Olympics.
The tie didn't come without its fair share of controversy, however. Throughout the match, Senegal was particularly aggressive in its tackling, and Craig Bellamy was taken down hard just outside the penalty box later in the game, but received a no-call.
Still, Senegal had plenty of chances against a suspect British defense, and Moussa Konate eventually took advantage of an opportunity in the 82nd minute.
Senegal got off 16 shots against Great Britain (nine on goal), while the British only got off three (two on goal), with Bellamy capitalizing in the 20th minute, per FIFA.com.
Senegal, largely considered to be in the middle of the pack headed into London, was whistled for 16 fouls and handed three yellow cards. Some may say the team should have been given even harsher penalties.
Nonetheless, it goes down as one point in Great Britain's first group-stage match in Group A.
As you can imagine, this match ignited plenty of Twitter reaction on Thursday.
Andy Hunt, British Olympics Association CEO and chef de mission for Team GB, tweeted before the match:
Speaking of Team GB, the term itself had more than a few folks scratching their heads, including Muse bassist and big-time football fan Chris Wolstenholme:
Why do they keep saying Team GB. Great Britain =3 syllables. Team GB = 3 syllables.Why abbreviate if your gonna then make it longer again.— Chris Wolstenholme (@CTWolstenholme) July 26, 2012
As for the match, Great Britain may have jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Daily Mirror chief sports writer Oliver Holt wasn't particularly impressed:
GB lead Senegal 1-0 at ht with good finish from Bellamy. Not a convincing lead, though. Senegal have looked better team going forward.— Oliver Holt (@OllieHoltMirror) July 26, 2012
The crowd at the stadium reflected the rather mundane beginnings. Comedy writer/producer Simon Blackwell may have said it best:
The crowd at this Great Britain vs Senegal match sound like they're watching a Strindberg play.— Simon Blackwell (@simonblackwell) July 26, 2012
Football fan Liverpool_lou cracked a rather hilarious joke:
Is every player from Senegal called papa? Papa Gueye, papa Camara, Papa Souare.... Wheres Papa smurf and Papa Dont Preach— Liverpool_lou (@Louiseczapla) July 26, 2012
Football Live tweeted what practically everyone was thinking throughout the match:
This ref has been very kind to Senegal tonight, there has been numerous bad tackles that could of seen players sent off most of the time.— Football Live (@FootballLiveFL) July 26, 2012
After Bellamy was tackled hard later in the game, no red card was given. The no-call may have had a big impact on the game, as James Tyler of ESPN noted:
So, instead of being down to 8 players, Senegal equalizes.— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) July 26, 2012
Deciding Factor: Great Britain's Defense
I'm going to stop short of blaming everything on the referees. Yes, their game-calling was questionable at best, but the fact of the matter is Great Britain allowed Senegal close to the net on numerous occasions, and Senegal could have easily scored more than one goal in the match.
Will Great Britain emerge out of Group A?
Game MVP: Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy was all over the pitch throughout the match, and, beyond his goal, he should have drawn a late foul/red card against Senegal, which may have seen Great Britain put the game away for good.
Great Britain plays UA Emirates on Sunday, while Senegal faces Uruguay in Group A play.
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