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  • 26 July 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: R. Irmatov
  • • Attendance: 72176

Team GB - Senegal Preview: Home nation prepare to kick off the Games after 52 years in Olympic exile

Team GB - Senegal Preview: Home nation prepare to kick off the Games after 52 years in Olympic exile

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Stuart Pearce's side take on the Lions at Old Trafford, with both teams looking to throw down the gauntlet to Group A favourites Uruguay as London 2012 gets underway


Taylor, Richards, Caulker, Bertrand
Ramsey, Allen, Giggs, Cleverley
Sturridge, Bellamy


Ciss, Souare, P Gueye, Bindia
Konate, Diame, I Gueye, Toure
N'Doye, Balde

Team GB have no fresh injury concerns ahead of their opening Group A encounter, with the news that Daniel Sturridge has recovered from meningitis in time for the Games coming as a timely boost for the squad.

Jack Butland is likely to get the nod in goal over Jason Steele after impressing during the second half of his side's 2-0 defeat to Brazil last Friday, while Stuart Pearce is likely to stick with the same outfield XI which started at the Riverside Stadium.

Senegal likewise have a full squad to choose from, with Ibrahima Balde set to lead the line for the Lions after scoring the second goal against Oman to book their place at the Games.

West Ham's Mohamed Diame will anchor the midfield for the African side against a British contingent well known to him following his time in the Premier League with Wigan.

  • Great Britain are competing in the men's football tournament this year for the first time since 1962.
  • The last time that they fielded a side in the competition, the Beatles had not yet released a record.
  • Coach Stuart Pearce has an impressive record at international youth level, guiding the England Under-21s to the 2009 Under-21 European Championships.
  • Senegal will make their Olympic debut at Old Trafford on Thursday.
  • Two African sides have won gold in this event in the last four Games: Nigeria in 1996, and Cameroon in 2000.
  • The Lions have won their last two matches against high-fancied opposition: A 1-0 win over Switzerland followed an impressive 2-0 victory against Spain.
  • Senegal reached the quarter-final stage of World Cup 2002 - only two other African sides have achieved this feat.

Players to watch

D. Sturridge

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Stuart Pearce has a limited array of strikers at his disposal, so much of the hosts' attacking threat will rest on the shoulders of the young Champions League winner.

Sturridge enjoyed his most fruitful campaign to date last season, scoring 13 goals and notching seven assists in his 41 appearances, and Pearce will be hoping he can recapture his best form against the Lions.

I. Baldé

Position: Attacker

Games: 3

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
Balde is another striker with a European title to his name, having won the Europa League in 2010 with Atletico Madrid, and his experience at the top level will be invaluable.

The Kuban Krasnodar striker netted the second of the Lions' goals in their play-off match against Oman to reach the group stages of London 2012, and the West Africans will look to the 23-year-old to find another crucial goal on Thursday evening.

Editor's Prediction

Group A's opening round represents a huge game for both sets of players, with Team GB playing on home soil after a 52 years in the Olympics wilderness whilst Senegal are making their bow in the competition.

Joseph Koto's side had undoubtedly the stronger warm-up campaign, with impressive victories over Spain and Switzerland whilst Pearce's charges were outplayed by Brazil last Friday. However, with a vastly more experienced squad and a pumped-up home crowd at Old Trafford behind them, Team GB may have too much for their African opponents on Thursday evening.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Great Britain U23

Senegal U23


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Great Britain U23 GRE
Great Britain U23 Great Britain U23
Senegal Under 23 SEN
Senegal Under 23 Senegal U23

Top 3 Predictions

Great Britain U23 GRE
2 - 0
Senegal Under 23 SEN
Great Britain U23 GRE
2 - 1
Senegal Under 23 SEN
Great Britain U23 GRE
3 - 1
Senegal Under 23 SEN


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