Team GB will warm up for their upcoming Olympics campaign by facing tournament favourites Brazil in their only pre-Games friendly tonight from 19.30pm at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium, looking to test themselves against the team that Stuart Pearce sees as one of the strongest candidates for victory in the tournament.
Ahead of taking part in their first Olympics in over half a century, Team GB will face a stern test, with the Brazilian team starring sensational forwards Neymar and Hulk. Pearce’s side is packed with Premier League quality and experience, and while they might not have the same sort of eye-catching talent as the Brazilians they will hope home advantage for the tournament, and tonight’s friendly should go some way to testing exactly how close to Brazil they currently are.
Pearce, who has very few selection concerns but will hope to welcome Daniel Sturridge back from illness, spoke to the Mirror ahead of the game:
“I think the best thing to do is take the favourites on. When the game was put to me – ‘Do we want to take Brazil or do we want to take somebody on who, on paper, are slightly lesser?’ I said I was more than happy to take Brazil on. You talk about the magnitude of their squad, I think they’ve only got one player who is uncapped at senior level.
“I think it’s the perfect game for us, it sharpens the focus and it does my job for me, to be honest with you.”
Pearce also confirmed that he hopes to be forced to give away his tickets to see athletics and equestrian events at the games, as it will mean Team GB have got through to the final stages:
“I’m interested in the equestrianism, because my wife keeps horses. We’ve got tickets to go and see that in Greenwich, I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it – I certainly hope not, anyway. I’ve also got tickets for an athletic event in the stadium and once again, I hope my wife’s going on her own! Everyone watches the Olympics – you watch every event. Once it starts, it grabs your focus and you support the team of your country.”
Pearce is expected to field his strongest team, including the likes of Craig Bellamy, Micah Richards and Joe Allen.
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