Selection debates, ticketing issues, penalty heartache and Brazil gearing up for the latter stages, the Olympic football tournament has had many of the hallmarks of tournament football but somehow it just isn’t. Maybe its the atmosphere of the first game being more reminiscent of a charity game than a Premiership battle or it could be the tedious chanting of initials that’s better placed in a American Ryder cup crowd, whatever it is it just isn’t tournament football.
The FA signalled their intent early not to take Olympic football too seriously with the appointment of Stuart Pearce, a man who’s management career is synonymous with mediocrity. As usual Stuart Pearce’s ego threatened to dominate his undeniable patriotism as he left out David Beckham in favour of Micah Richards in a move that was apparently to prove that Pearce was picking on form not reputations. However even at 37 years old Beckham looked in considerably better shape than Richards as he impressed in an MLS all star game against European Champions Chelsea, suggesting that really Pearce just wished to prove who was boss. Further proof came when Pearce opted to leave Daniel Sturridge on the bench in favour of Marvin Sordell, a man yet to score a Premiership goal.
To be fair to Pearce though he wasn’t helped. Several of the games’ stakeholders signalled their intent that the Olympics would not be treated with the same respect as other Championships. Most notably Gareth Bale was mysteriously injured yet somehow managed to feature for Spurs’ in Pre-Season and Manchester United wrote to the FA, according to the The Guardian, stating that only Ryan Giggs would be available for selection as an overage player despite Rio Ferdinand and even Paul Scholes being strong candidates.
The Olympics weren’t without positives though when it comes to building for our international future. The team made up largely of young players demonstrated a much stronger ability to retain the ball, a facet of the international game that is becoming increasingly important, than the England side that lost out to Italy in the Euro’s. However if the stern faces during the rendition of God Save the Queen weren’t enough to remind you, Team GB’s best exponents of the passing game Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey aren’t English. No matter what the programme at Team GB’s first game might have claimed.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!