After their opening game draw with Senegal, Stuart Pearce’s Team GB face the United Arab Emirates at Wembley this evening, with kick-off set for 7.45pm.
It is a match both teams need to win if they want to ensure progression from the group, with Uruguay currently topping the group after beating UAE in their opening game, despite a strong first half performance by the latter.
Team GB captain Ryan Giggs spoke to Sky Sports ahead of the game to confirm exactly how big the match against the UAE has become in the wake of the 1-1 draw with Senegal, and tonight’s opponent’s opening game performance against Uruguay:
“This is now a massive match because we are going to have to win one of the next two games. We saw the UAE play some decent stuff against Uruguay, our last opponents in the group. It is going to be tough but we’ll have to do it.
We were disappointed after the Senegal match, although overall it was a fair result because they had some decent chances. After leading 1-0 we weren’t able to hang on, which was disappointing.”
And Micah Richards confirmed that the team have been preparing for tonight’s opponents with videos, since there hasn’t been much opportunity to see the players in the flesh:
“We’ve done a lot of stuff on the iPad and studied a lot of videos over the last two-and-a-half weeks – watching teams like Senegal and the UAE.
“When their players don’t play in our league, it’s hard to know what they’re about.”
Stuart Pearce has confirmed that some changes may well be made after the Senegal game, speaking to the Independent ahead of tonight’s game:
“You never finish a tournament with the same side you started with.”
Two enforced changes might well come thanks to the knocks picked up by Welsh duo Joe Allen and Craig Bellamy, in the robust game against the Senegalese, though the latter told the BBC that he expects to be fit, despite the tackle which Team GB felt should have resulted in a penalty:
“I just tweaked my [knee] medial ligament but it should be alright… I felt physically quite good. I do have to realise that I am two weeks into pre-season [training], as much as this is a competitive international. I think you could see [in] the last 20 minutes, half-an-hour, that it just caught us a little bit, but the great thing about football and the great thing about us is we’ve got another game coming up soon.”
Though Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge was substituted in the Senegal game, manager Pearce insists that the swap was a tactical decision, rather than a fitness issue after Sturridge’s bout of meningitis earlier this summer, and he is expected to be fully available for tonight’s game.
The UAE are expected to go with the same team that did so well in the first half against group favourites Uruguay, though their assistant manager Hassan Alabdooli has expressed fears to ESPN that the referee could swing the match in the favour of the home team:
“We are not afraid of the British team, but the one thing we are maybe afraid of is that the referee is going with the host team. We will pray that the referee is neutral. The referee in the Uruguay game maybe cared too much for Luis Suarez and he didn’t have any mind for our players because he thought maybe we were weak. [Tonight] we hope the referee will not be influenced by the crowd and everything around him.”
Team GB: Butland, Taylor, Richards, Caulker, Bertrand, Ramsey, Giggs, Cleverley, Bellamy, Sturridge, Rose.
UAE: Khaseif, Ahmad, Al Hammadi, Al-Khamali, Sanquour, Hussain, Abdulrahman, Fardan, Eisa, Khalil, Matar
- 30 Sexiest WAGs Of 2012
- 50 Sexiest Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- 10 Most Paused Movie Moments
- Football’s Worst Ever Cheating Divers
- 10 Great Footballers Who Made Terrible Managers
- 100 Greatest Premier League Players Of All Time
- 50 Great Footballers Who Ruled 2012
- 15 Worst Ever Premier League Signings