GB men’s football team edge closer to quarter-finals
The men’s Team GB side took a firm grip of Group E after a slightly flattering 3-1 victory over the UAE, as the Welsh contingent continued to impress for the boys in red, white and blue.
Following on from the negativity that surrounded Thursday’s opener against Senegal, Stuart Pearce’s side went into tonight’s game knowing that anything other than a victory could be potentially disastrous. The media sharks were circling in the pre-game build up, with attention yet again being drawn to the Welsh squad members not singing the national anthem, you could almost predict the negative content of tomorrow’s sporting articles.
Luckily then, the GB players were focused on the task at hand and all appeared to be going to plan as the two Welsh old boys combined to net the opener. Craig Bellamy exploited the poor UAE defence with a pin point cross for Ryan Giggs to nod confidently past Ali Khuseif. And it was nearly two before half time as Tom Cleverley came as close to scoring as you can get without the ball crossing the line as his effort ricocheted off both posts.
The UAE appeared in the second half reinvigorated, playing some lovely passing football as they looked to break through a stoic GB backline. They didn’t have to wait long to find the equaliser as Rashed Eisa latched on to a deft through ball and slotted past a helpless Jack Butland. The goal appeared to shift the momentum of the game in favour of the Arab side, their confidence soaring, another goal felt imminent.
However, an inspired substitution from Pearce restored home hopes. Scott Sinclair with his first touch of the game tapped in from close range as Bellamy’s teasing cross was spilled by Khuseif. With the UAE on the back foot GB started making the most of the possession. The second super sub, Daniel Sturridge chipped a sweet lob into the net from outside the area to seal victory with a finish Lionel Messi would’ve been proud of.
Next up then is Uruguay, when avoiding defeat will see GB into the next round. They will fancy their chances as the South Americans succumbed to Senegal and will likely face a hostile reception courtesy of Luis Suarez. As GB move from strength to strength, a medal finish is back on the agenda. What unity crisis?
Dan Cain, Olympic correspondent