Squad: J Allen (Swansea), C Bellamy (Liverpool), R Bertrand (Chelsea), J Butland (Birmingham), S Caulker (Tottenham), T Cleverley (Manchester United), J Cork (Southampton), C Dawson (West Brom), R Giggs (Manchester United), A Ramsey (Arsenal), M Richards (Manchester City), D Rose (Tottenham), S Sinclair (Swansea), M Sordell (Bolton), J Steele (Middlesbrough), D Sturridge (Chelsea), N Taylor (Swansea), J Tomkins (West Ham)
So much potential in this young squad and I can honestly admit that everyone who has played has put in as much effort as such a tournament demanded. The rising stars of Allen, Cleverly, Ramsey, Sturridge being backed by experienced campaigners in the form of Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards.
They struggled to a 2-0 defeat against the favourites Brazil. Although in contrast considering that was their first friendly bar the Mexico run-out, the result seems evident. It's essentially a side of strangers although a few players have played together before for club and country it's not every week as opposed to their Brazilian counterparts including the samba skills. Players such as Neymar, Hulk, Pato, Oscar and Lucas are already household names without even gracing the British stage. This defeat clearly showed strengths and weaknesses which is what manager Stuart Pearce wanted to see.
Their first game against Senegal was simple described as a 'bloodbath' it was extraordinary. Tackles were put in before passes had been made. You can't fault the African nation for their commitment but a few tackles involving Neil Taylor and Craig Bellamy were suspicious at best. Even Giggs claiming that red cards would have been displayed in the Premier League. After taking a lead and holding it for most of the game through a Bellamy Volley it seems certain for the 3 points but a simple through ball and chip over Jack Butland seemed to object this idea. A draw against a very strong side is a great vocal point for Pearce to work on.
Team GB know exactly their strongest side and it has a strong nucleus of small players backed by giants in the game. There's plenty of control and pinache in the middle of the park with Ramsey, Allen and Giggs and Cleverly playing all crucial parts. Bellamy, Sturridge and Sordell providing pace and power it's in abundance throughout. The defensive elements have been worrying particularly at CB with Caulker impressing and Tomkins labouring but at such a young age it's to be expected. Micah Richards and Taylor at the back are the preffered choice because they are so experienced in their positions and also on form which is vital going into a tournament like this.
Next up was U.A.E which should not be underestimated because they almost shocked Uruguay who let's not forget were semi-finalists at the World Cup in 2010. After taking the lead they were pegged back in the second half but some very strong performances and seem like a solid side performing well above their weight. GB once again took the lead via a collectors item in the form of a Ryan Giggs header. Rached Eisa decided that he wanted to spoil the party and practically walked past Tomkins at the back and chipped it over Butland, It sounds so familiar.
With time running out the manager deemed that he would pull Giggs off which seemed dispicable at the time but I guess that's why he's the manager and i'm not!. Scott Sinclair one of three Swansea players in the side and the third on the pitch at the time taps it in at Wembley, we've heard that one before. It was a turning point in sanctioning the use of a Team GB football side since it was announced. There was proof that this could actually work and give players a stage to play. After Sturridge had came on and delightfully chipped over the keeper the game was won and suddenly everyone believed that there was a medal up for grabs, Add this to the fact Spain were knocked out leaves the path open.
With Uruguay coming up tonight where does it leave Team GB in this tournament. A chance to win a medal, yes?. A chance to bring players together for an experience which is unmatched around the world, yes?. All they need is a draw against Suarez, Cavani and co and that puts them in the quarter finals how the perplexion of the game has chanced since it all began in 2008. I for one and I hope many other will be cheering Team GB on. It's not England and it's not Wales it's both which I for one don't mind in the slightest.
Many Welsh fans have objections to the team with many saying that Wales could lose it's independance which is true to some extent. Craig Bellamy has come out this morning and said that GB's football team will 'Go back on the shelf' when it's finished which says that this was a one-off. So for all of these players it's the one chance to show everyone what they can do. Particularly the Welsh players who haven't qualified for a major tournament it's the only chance up until now. So Yes you can choose not to support our country but at the end of the day we would support a Welsh rower if she was rowing for Team GB so why not in the case of football. After all this is over all the Welsh boys will go back better players and better people for this experience and the whole thing will be forgotten, it's not a major tournament in essence but it is in mind and that's why they need the support of everyone in the UK.