Monday, July 23, 2012
Preview | Group A |
Group B | Group C | Group D
Stuart Pearce's side face a monumental challenge if they are to win a medal of any colour at the tournament, with a squad deprived of those who competed at Euro 2012 and with little experience of playing together. The unbalanced side that started the warm-up friendly with Brazil did little to calm doubts over Pearce's managerial ability, but there is still plenty of talent in the squad, and they will doubtless receive incredible backing from the home crowds.
Key Man: Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea) - If Team GB are to succeed they will need goals, and the Blues forward looks set to be tasked with leading the line. A good tournament for Sturridge and Britain could pose an outside medal threat.
Uruguayan football is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, with the senior side 2011 Copa America champions and the U-20s amongst the continent's top three teams for the past three tournaments. Goals have been scored for fun in warm-up wins over Chile and Panama, with the attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Abel Hernandez all recognisable faces to many. La Celeste will need a defence led by Liverpool's Sebastian Coates to improve ahead of tougher tests, but Uruguay could be the team to watch this tournament.
Key Man: Arevalo Rios (Palermo) - For all Uruguay's undoubted attacking talent, it is the tireless work ethic of Arevalo in midfield that allows those around him to shine.
Senegal are an almost impossible package to predict, and their recent form is a mixed bag. Fine wins over Spain and Switzerland were followed by a 3-0 capitulation at the hands of Korea, but the Teranga Lions will believe they can progress from Group A. In striker Ibrahima Balde, midfielder Stephane Badji and defender Kara Mbodj, they have a spine of players looking to impress after rumoured links to European giants, while the over-age duo of Mohamed Diame and Papa Gueye add experience to a group of talented youngsters. A quarter-final spot is a real possibility.
Key Man: Cheikhou Kouyate (Anderlecht) - The powerful midfielder had an excellent league season in 2011-12 and will form part of a physical Senegal midfield unit that will look to dominate opponents.
United Arab Emirates
One of three Asian qualifiers, UAE will participate in the Olympic football tournament for the first time this summer and have much to prove. Results at youth levels suggest Emirati football is improving, while performances in defeat to Honduras and victory over New Zealand showed signs that this squad could produce a shock if underestimated. Unfortunately for UAE, they have landed in what appears to be the tournament's toughest group, meaning that qualification would be something of a surprise.
Key Man: Ahmed Khalil (Al-Ahli) - The golden boy of football in the UAE, Khalil is a pacey striker with a phenomenal scoring record at youth international and club level. The 21-year-old has more than enough ability to punish any mistakes by opposing defenders.