Team GB Men’s Head Coach Stuart Pearce believes he can now focus on picking a great squad and going for Gold after the draw was made for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday morning.
Pearce’s squad will face Uruguay, United Arab Emirates and Senegal in Group A and Pearce revealed that the pool of 80 players he is still considering is showing real signs of excitement at the prospect of taking part in London 2012.
“I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. I was at the Senegal game this week and it gave me an insight,”
“Uruguay were at the U20 World Cup in the summer so I know some of their players and we are delighted the draw has been made now because it sharpens the focus on the start.
“The beauty of three over-age players is you can strengthen the squad. It will be exciting but we hope home advantage will be an opportunity.
“I’m busy scouting, looking at form and fitness which will be key drivers – the over-aged players will problem be picked based on what we are missing from the youngsters.
“We want to pick the squad after the Euro squad is announced, so mid-May and then the squad will go out so the players have plenty of warning and a fitness programme to work on.
“We have a situation where there might not be a Team GB football team again in our lifetime – it could just be a one-off – so the excitement is generated through that and the players are very excited about being involved.”
Ladies boss Hope Powell is also looking forward to their game with New Zealand being the first event that kicks-off London 2012 at Cardiff’s stunning Millennium Stadium and raising her sport’s profile with huge games against Brazil and Cameroon following up.
“Any game of these magnitude, World Cups, European Cups and Olympics, will always be tough games, but I think for us but we have to look at Brazil as a great opportunity to raise our game and platform – it starts now.
“It was highlighted some time back that it would be at the Millennium Stadium. It gives us an opportunity to raise the profile of the sport in the country and we are really excited that it is the opening event.”
The tournament kicks off on 25 July with six cities across Great Britain hosting men and women’s matches until the Finals at Wembley Stadium concluding on 11 August.
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