Team GB 1-0 Uruguay: Sturridge sends hosts through as group winners to set up South Korea tie
Stuart Pearce's men progress as Group A winners after a relatively comfortable victory over the South Americans who have been poor throughout the competition
By Ryan Benson
Team GB has progressed to the knockout phase of the Olympics as Group A winners after a fairly comfortable 1-0 win over the disappointing Uruguay.
Stuart Pearce's men controlled much of the match before some late pressure from the South Americans and although there weren't many clear-cut chances in the first period, GB went into the break in the lead as Daniel Sturridge netted in stoppage time.
In a similar fashion to the first period, chances hardly flowed after halftime, but Sturridge almost got a second late on as he forced Martin Campana in the Uruguay goal to tip his effort round the post.
The hosts started in positive fashion with Craig Bellamy getting plenty of involvement from the off, as the Welshman crossed in from the right, but Scott Sinclair’s back-post header was blocked at the critical stage.
GB continued to press the Uruguayans and some good work by Aaron Ramsey down the left won a corner from which Alexis Rolin was forced to clear just in front of the goal line after Steven Caulker beat Sebastian Coates in the air.
However, moments later Coates did triumph in the air and came close to giving his side the lead as the Liverpool man nodded Luis Suarez’s left-wing free-kick over the bar, but he should have at least hit the target.
Bellamy and Ramsey were having an impressive first-half and they linked up excellently down the right as the forward played a disguised pass inside to the Arsenal man who fizzed a smart ball across the penalty area, but it sailed through without anyone getting contact on it.
Coates was soon causing aerial problems once again for GB, connecting with Diego Rodriguez’s corner, heading it downwards towards goal before it bounced up and struck Joe Allen, leading to intense calls for a penalty, however replays showed the ball quite clearly hit the Swansea man in the chest.
After imposing a significant amount of control over Uruguay, GB finally took the lead in first-half added time, and it was brilliantly worked.
Scott Sinclair cut inside before slipping an inch-perfect pass in behind the defense for Allen. The Wales international cut the ball back for himself and found Sturridge amidst a crowd of players in the area, but the Chelsea man was able to poke the ball into an open goal, allowing Stuart Pearce’s side to go into the break in the lead.
With just over a minute played in the second-half GB looked destined to double igs lead as Ramsey fantastically released Bellamy down the right, and Sinclair headed the 33-year-old’s cross back across goal to Sturridge who somehow knocked the ball onto the post from a yard out, however his blushes were spared as the linesman flagged for offside.
After a quiet opening 53 minutes, pantomime villain Suarez burst into life as he out-muscled Caulker, before breezing past Richards and running across Jack Butland, but his shot was smothered well by the 19-year-old goalkeeper and the hosts were able to clear as Uruguay threatened to come alive.
GB were still looking comfortable, however Uruguay attacked with promise again just past the hour mark as Suarez shot left-footed from the edge of the area, but Butland got down very well to his left, while the desperately poor Edinson Cavani smashed the rebound into the side-netting from a narrow angle.
The hosts were straight back on the attack a few moments later and Neil Taylor’s curling left-footed strike from the corner of the penalty area almost snuck inside the far post, but it sailed narrowly wide.
With victory and three points in sight, GB began to sit back an unnecessary amount, inviting Uruguayan pressure and Suarez almost had a chance following a Gaston Ramirez knock down, but the Liverpool man was given a yellow card for catching the ball, yet amazingly he still had the audacity to contest the decision.
Uruguay’s newly-found attacking belief was testing GB’s defensive quality, with the South American side’s main threat coming from Coates and set-pieces, but the young defender first headed on to the back of Micah Richards’ head, and he then nodded wide.
A brilliant solo run from Sturridge almost ended in the forward doubling his tally for the night as he marched on by himself from the halfway line before beating Rolin and shooting towards the far post, but Campana tipped it round his right-hand post.
Tabarez's men were continuously attempting to wind-up their hosts, and although they to hit the bar through Ramirez in stoppage time, they were unable to get the goals they needed and GB held on for the win.Follow GOAL.COM USA on
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