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Team GB - The positives and negatives

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Team GB got their long-awaited Olympics campaign underway with a 1-1 draw against a strong Senegal side at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

Craig Bellamy's first-half goal had given Stuart Pearce’s side a deserved lead, but as the match wore on, Team GB began to retreat into their shell, sitting behind the ball in a style not dissimilar to England at this summer’s European Championships.

As such, it came as no surprise when Senegal equalised through Moussa Konate.

Those blinded by Team GB's failings will argue that they should have had a penalty while the scoreline remained 1-0 for a challenge on Bellamy - but the match was already starting to run away from them before that point, and you couldn't argue that Aliou Cisse's side warranted a share of the spoils.

So what will Stuart Pearce have learned from his side’s opening match?


Liverpool's Craig Bellamy took to the challenge with gusto, causing problems for the Senegal defence with a combination of intelligence, good technique and clever movement.

Despite only playing 45 minutes and not having a great impact, Daniel Sturridge’s movement and link-up play is a platform that Pearce can build upon.

Spurs defender Steven Caulker continues to look extremely promising at centre back.


Quite simply, as is the norm with the British Isles at international level, Team GB need to keep the ball better.

Whilst the opening 20 minutes saw the side recycle possession well and wait patiently as they tried to create openings against a physically imposing Senegal, the more the clock ticked by, the more that old habits - giving the ball away and retreating closer to their own goal - returned to Great Britain's performance.

In spite of a midfield trio who are all technically proficient - Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley and Joe Allen - Team GB gave the ball away carelessly for much of the second period whilst the defence gradually fell back onto their own 18 yard line.

Elsewhere, Danny Rose struggled in the left wing position, and Scott Sinclair must be wondering what he's got to do to get a game.

Neil Taylor is a fairly decent player at right back, but you have to question why Micah Richards isn't shifted into the position he has almost exclusively occupied for Manchester City in the past two years. Southampton's Jack Cork is another willing contender.

Nevertheless, it is the notion of playing on the retreat when in front that will stick with supporters, especially against opponents who looked better in attack than they did in defence.

By Alex Richards

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