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Team GB v Brazil: Match preview

Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium plays host to a warm-up match on Friday between Team GB and Brazil.

It is the only chance for manager Stuart Pearce (pictured) to tune his players together in a competitive environment before their participation in the London Olympics.

It will also be a good indication to see how good the 18-man squad is, especially as Brazil has been considered to be among the gold medal favourites in the football competition.

There has been a lot of talk in the build-up to the games about selection policy and the surprise exclusion of David Beckham. But now it is time for the players to show their merited selections.

Brilliant Brazil

Although Brazil hasn’t won a major international competition for a decade now, they continue to produce some remarkable youngsters and if you are Brazilian, you must be skilful.

Coach Mano Menezes has the strongest squad on paper and it includes talented attackers Oscar and Neymar.

Neymar, who plays for Brazilian side Santos, will finally get his chance to show just how good he really is, following a load of glowing scouting reports that have Barcelona and Chelsea seriously interested.

Also in their squad is FC Porto’s Hulk, Manchester United’s right-back Rafael, AC Milan hitman Pato and Sandro from Tottenham Hotspur.

The Brazilians will begin their campaign with a match against Egypt at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium next Thursday.

Sturridge dilemma

Daniel Sturridge joined up with the Team GB squad for training this week, although there are still doubts about the Stamford Bridge striker and his match fitness.

Pearce will use him, probably from the start in this game to see if Sturridge has managed to shake off the viral meningitis diagnosis he got at the start of the month.

Ryan Giggs will captain the side and the team will look to him and fellow Welshman Craig Bellamy for the inspiration and the experience to help the team through this warm-up match.

Pearce has admitted in the build-up that his squad isn’t ready for the Olympics just yet.

He said to BBC Sport: “We want to bring them to the boil around the Senegal game.

“We know we are not where we want to be at the moment. We need to be peaking for the Senegal game and we have to accept that we are going to get fitter and stronger day by day.”

Team GB will start their campaign with a match against the Africans from Senegal on Thursday, July 26, at Old Trafford.

Test of expectations

There is little doubt that as a new squad, this Team GB team will need some time to gel before the Olympic competition begins.

Therefore, a match against the Olympic favourites is the perfect match for this emerging side.

It is imperative for Pearce to select his strongest 11 for this match and have an idea of who he might field in the group opener with Senegal.

Expectations are high but this friendly is going to be a test of these expectations and see how far the team has come so far.

The men will follow the women at the Riverside, who have a warm-up friendly also on Friday against Sweden.

There has been a lot of intrigue about the football tournament, far more than at any Olympics that can be remembered.

It is time for the players to do their talking on the pitch, get the country excited and show to Stuart Pearce that he has made some hard but right decisions, in regards to the squad he has picked.

Team GB v Brazil is live on BBC One and BBC One HD tonight from 7.30pm, kick-off at 7.45pm

By Simon Wright - Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

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