Due to the nation hosting the games, Great Britain will compete in the men’s football event this summer.
The squad is made up of thirteen English players and five Welshman, all of whom play their club football in England’s top two divisions. There has been some controversy regarding the selection, due to the lack of Scottish and Northern Irish representation, as well as the notable absence of David Beckham of LA Galaxy – who was largely assumed would feature, though Coach Stuart Pearce has insisted all decisions were based purely on form and fitness.
Great Britain Olympic Football Squad:
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Neil Taylor (Swansea), James Tomkins (West Ham)
Midfielders: Joe Allen (Swansea), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Scott Sinclair (Swansea)
Forwards: Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).
History at the Olympics
Great Britain have not had a football team feature in the Olympics since 1960, and have not even attempted to qualify since 1972. They took back to back Gold medals at the 1908 Games in London, and four years later in Stockholm, whilst the now defunct Upton Park FC were victorious representing Great Britain in the inaugural tournament at the 1900 Games in Paris.
Team GB will be coached by Stuart Peace, who has led the England under-21 team since 2007, as well as taking charge of one full international before the appointment of Roy Hodgson by the English FA earlier this year.
Players to Watch
Ryan Giggs is undoubtedly the stand out name in Great Britain’s squad. The 38 year old is the most decorated player in English football history, however due to him being unable to help Wales qualify for a major tournament; he has not had the opportunity to perform on the big stage at international level.
The hotly tipped Jack Butland of Birmingham City will almost certainly start in goal for Team GB, having been part of England’s Euro 2012 squad, whilst Swansea trio Neil Taylor, Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair have been recognised following their clubs impressive debut season in the English Premier League.
Thursday, July 26th v Senegal (20:00 GMT in Manchester)
Sunday, July 29th v United Arab Emirates (19:45 GMT in London)
Wednesday, August 1st v Uruguay (19:45 GMT in Cardiff)
Team GB are odds on to win their opening game, with Bet Victor offering odds of 1.40 (2/5), with Senegal at 7.5 (13/2) with Bodog, while the draw is 4.0 (3/1) with the same form. Odds for their following two games will be available closer to the start of the tournament.
Prediction – Semi Finals
With a squad oozing with Premier League experience, they should have absolutely no problem winning their group, with Uruguay most likely to provide their sternest test in their final game.
Beyond the group, they are set to face fairly favourable opposition in the quarter finals; however getting past the much fancied Brazil and or Spain that will probably to be a step to far.
With this in mind, you might be tempted to take advantage of the 2.75 (7/4) Bet Victor are offering for Team GB to finish in the top three, whilst Ladbrokes offer the best odds of them taking gold at 9.0 (8/1).