Betting Special: Back Spain for Olympic gold but Uruguay can go far
Team GB will compete in the football competition for the first time since 1960, but Adam Bate thinks La Furia Roja or La Celeste Olimpica will be top dogs on August 11Much of the optimism surrounding Stuart Pearce's Team GB was deflated by an impotent display in Friday's warm-up match against tournament favourites Brazil.
A chronic inability to keep the ball saw the British side chasing their Brazilian counterparts gamely for the best part of 90 minutes.
It was a timely reminder that the problems Roy Hodgson had with England at Euro 2012 were not especially of his own design but rather endemic of football on this island. No amount of Pearce tub-thumping is likely to change that.
Brazil, in contrast, looked a team – and that's a reflection of the fact that their squad is not far away from the current senior side.
National team coach Mano Menezes has the reins for this tournament and with the Selecao not taking part in South American World Cup qualifying due to their hosting duties in two years' time, he knows he must use occasions like this wisely.
The presence of Thiago Silva at the back coupled with attacking options such as Neymar, Leandro Damaio, Hulk and Pato make Brazil favourites for gold at 6/4 (2.5) with Bet365.
Great Britain are a 10/1 (11.0) shot to be inspired by home advantage and pull off a surprise win.
But Britain's weaknesses could really open up Group A – and that is great news for Uruguay.
Oscar Tabarez has already guided Uruguay to the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup and to Copa America glory last year and he will be taking this tournament very seriously indeed.
Tabarez has selected Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani as over-age players and that is a potent pairing at this level. Egidio Arevalo Rios is his other over-age pick – an experienced defensive midfield who will bring discipline to the team, and he looks to be a shrewd selection.
Throw in Sebastian Coates and Nicolas Lodeiro and Uruguay are a tempting option at 13/2 (7.5) with Bet365.
In fact, they are the value bet in this market given that the winner of Uruguay’s group will face the runner-up of the Mexico, South Korea, Gabon and Switzerland bracket in the quarter-finals.
As a result, Tabarez's men are surely nailed on for a last-four berth.
But if we are looking to pick the winner of the tournament it remains impossible in the current climate to ignore Spain.
With the senior side having won their last three major tournaments - and the Under-19s and Under-21s having recently proved themselves to be the best in Europe - these are heady days for Spanish football and this squad has the quality to emulate that success.
They boast two goalscorers from the European Championship final in Juan Mata and Jordi Alba, as well as players such as David de Gea, Cesar Azpilicueta, Iker Muniain, Adrian Lopez and Ander Herrera.
For all Brazil's quality it is baffling that Spain are not favourites – they can be backed at 5/2 (3.5) to win Olympic gold and that is the best outright selection for this tournament.
|Spain to win at 5/2 (3.5) with Bet365
||Uruguay to win at 13/2 (7.5) with Bet365
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on
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