Team GB - Uruguay Preview: One point separates Pearce's men from quarter-finals
Oscar Tabarez's side could also advance with a draw, but they would have to rely on UAE doing them a favour against Senegal who currently occupy second place
By Ryan Benson
Bertrand, Richards, Caulker, Taylor
Aguirregaray, Rolin, Coates, Albin
Rodriguez, Arevalo, Lodeiro
Team GB picked up their first win against the United Arab Emirates last time out with Ryan Giggs, Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge getting the goals - but after defeat to Senegal, Uruguay know this is also a must win for them.
Stuart Pearce’s side continue to avoid major injury problems, but centre-back James Tomkins could make way for Micah Richards to allow Ryan Bertrand to fill in on the right-hand side, while Aaron Ramsey looks set to retain his place alongside Joe Allen and Giggs in centre-midfield.
Sturridge was a half-time substitute for Great Britain during the win over UAE, but will likely start, alongside Craig Bellamy, in place of Marvin Sordell after scoring.
Uruguay were completely undone by a smash-and-grab performance from 10-man Senegal last time out, however wholesale changes are not expected with little available in reserve to coach Oscar Tabarez.
Right-back Ramon Arias may be replaced by Brazil-born Matias Aguirregaray after a less-than-impressive performance against Senegal, while Diego Rodriguez looks a likely replacement for Maxi Calzada in midfield, where the match against the African side was arguably lost.
Tabarez could be tempted to start Abel Hernandez, who came on as a substitute and looked lively against Senegal, but he is unlikely to drop Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani or Gaston Ramirez.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
The fixture will be played at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, and it will be the first time Giggs has played for a national team in his country of birth since February 2007.
A win for either side will guarantee progression to the knockout rounds.
Should Great Britain and Uruguay draw and Senegal win, the African side would finish top with the hosts coming in second.
If GB finish top of Group A, their most likely opponents in the next round is South Korea.
Neither side has a player with more than one goal with Bellamy, Sinclair, Sturridge and Giggs (pictured right) all on one for GB, while Ramirez and Nicolas Lodeiro have one apiece for the South Americans.
British nations have played Uruguay a total of eight times, winning just once.
England beat la Celeste in 2006 with a last-minute Joe Cole strike securing victory.
Uruguay beat Scotland 7-0 in 1954, while they have never faced Wales.
Uruguay’s only ever previous appearances at the Olympics have resulted in a gold medal in the football, winning the tournament in 1924 and 1928, but did not appear again until this year.
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Top 3 Predictions
Great Britain U-23 2-1 Uruguay U-23
- 19.05 %
Great Britain U-23 1-2 Uruguay U-23
- 15.77 %
Great Britain U-23 1-1 Uruguay U-23
- 9.33 %
|Olympic Games (OLY)||1 Aug 2012||Great Britain U-23 1 - Uruguay U-23 0|
|Great Britain U-23|
|4 Aug 2012||Great Britain U-23 1 - South Korea Under 23 1||OLY|
|1 Aug 2012||Great Britain U-23 1 - Uruguay U-23 0||OLY|
|29 Jul 2012||Great Britain U-23 3 - UAE U-23 1||OLY|
|26 Jul 2012||Great Britain U-23 1 - Senegal U-23 1||OLY|
|31 Mar 2009||Great Britain U-23 0 - France U-21 2||FR|
|15||Diego Martín Rodríguez||Midfielder|
|17||Egidio Arevalo Rios||Midfielder|
When talking to the press before this match, Bellamy made no secret as to what this match meant to him, adding that it was “special” to be able to play for Great Britain in his home town - no more than 15 minutes from where he grew up.
With the match so obviously important to the Liverpool forward, he will be keen to impress, hoping to add to his tally of one goal.
The former Norwich City man has often appeared to be a player who relishes the big matches, and with a place in the next round of a major competition at stake, this should be no different.
It would be a fair assessment to say the Liverpool man has hardly outdone himself in terms of performances in the Olympics so far, turning in two very averages displays thus far against UAE and Senegal.
Suarez’s performance have mirrored that of his team; lacklustre. It suggests that if he were to have a good game Uruguay would stand a much better chance, while his link-up play with Ramirez and Cavani has been far from telepathic.
Uruguay cannot afford to not win this match, as Senegal could quite possibly see them going home early should they pick up an expected win against UAE, therefore it will be Suarez’s main job to finally deliver on Wednesday.
Stuart Pearce’s men have not been particularly clinical so far, with the draw against Senegal probably about all they deserved, while the 3-1 win over UAE arguably flattered them, and on paper this Uruguay side is the best team they have come up against so far.
Having said that, Uruguay have been poor and another poor 90 minutes from Suarez, Cavani and Ramirez will play into the hands of the hosts, but the match itself seems destined for a draw.