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Team GB will look to improve after initial setback

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Stuart Pearce’s Team GB side fell to a 1-0 defeat by a Mexico Under-23 side in a private friendly in Marbella on Sunday.

The squad's official first friendly takes place this Friday against Brazil in Middlesbrough, and Pearce (pictured) will be hoping for a more encouraging result, following Mexico’s slender win courtesy of a Marco Fabian effort in a game that consisted of three 30-minute periods.

The three over-age players; Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Micah Richards all featured as well as starts for Jack Butland, Ryan Bertrand, Aaron Ramsey and Tom Cleverley.

The game, which would have primarily centred around fitness and squad dynamic was played against Mexico of the CONCACAF region and their style will certainly match that of Uruguay who are the other much-fancied side for qualification alongside Team GB in Group A.

Possible starting XI?

The Marbella friendly also revealed the possible thoughts of Pearce in relation to his selections for a starting XI berth.

For most, it seems Jack Butland has snatched the number one shirt ahead of Jason Steele, following a burgeoning reputation which has seen the 19-year-old not only make Roy Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2012 but also be the subject of a £6m bid by Premier League new boys Southampton.

Interestingly also, Ryan Bertrand got the nod at left back in perhaps Team GB’s most competitive position.

Neil Taylor of Swansea and Danny Rose of Tottenham can also fill in there, but Bertrand seems to have stolen a march on the pair following increased playing chances at Chelsea last term, which culminated in an unlikely, yet assured Champions League final appearance.

With the three over-age players all but certain to command a starting XI berth, elsewhere Tom Cleverley and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey look the next certainties following their pairing in midfield on Sunday.

Support fears? 

Ramsey recently urged Welsh fans to get behind Team GB during the London 2012 games and not single out the Englishmen for criticism. Five Welshmen make up the squad and Ramsey is hoping people can understand his willingness to be involved at such an event, despite opposition from the Football Association of Wales surrounding independence doubts.

Marvin Sordell also started up top in the most surprising selection, but Pearce will probably want to find out more about the Bolton man, amidst Daniel Sturridge’s recent troubles encompassing meningitis contraction.

The squad will sample the game scenario once more on Friday evening whereby Stuart Pearce’s men will be dealt the hard task of overcoming a strong looking Brazil outfit in the only official friendly before the games begin.

A Selecao boss Mano Menezes has picked a formidable-looking squad ahead of the games that features Santos superstar Neymar, recent Paris Saint-Germain acquisition Thiago Silva as well as Chelsea transfer target Hulk.

Team GB v Brazil at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium will be broadcast live from 19:30 (GMT) on BBC One on Friday, July 20. Gabby Logan will present Match Of The Day Live with commentary being provided by Jonathan Pearce and Mark Bright.

By Taylor Williams - Follow me on Twitter @Taylor_Will1989 - Visit my blog -

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