Team GB played Brazil at Middlesbrough Stadium last night in their only warm-up game before the Olympics and quite frankly were given a lesson in football.
The Brazilians won the game comfortably courtesy of first half goals from Tottenham’s Sandro and Santos starlet Neymar, but it could have been far worse for Stuart Pearce’s team.
Team GB played like a team of strangers and that’s basically what they are.
A number of the players have played together at club and international level, but last night Team GB just didn’t look like a team. It will be a worry for boss Stuart Pearce ahead of the kick-off of Olympics next week.
It’s a shame that the team didn’t have more friendly’s to prepare for the big event. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. And that’s just what Team GB will do at the Olympics unless Pearce finds a way of moulding the team together.
Throughout the game Brazil managed to create space and chances. At international level you can’t afford the opposition the sort of space GB gave their opponents last night, especially not opponents of the quality of Brazil.
I don’t think anybody can argue that Brazil is one of the best sides entering the Olympic competition. They will enter the competition as one of the favourites alongside Spain and there is a reason for that. The Selecao have players who are just far more talented than their opponents.
The quality of the Brazilian national side has been criticised in recent years but some of the Olympic squad are the brightest young players in the world. Santos striker Neymar is already being compared to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar has scored over 100 goals in club football, despite being just 20 years of age. He has the potential to be the best player in the world. The only thing that could let him down is his temperament. A number of times in recent Brazil games he has shown a tendency to overreact and play-act.
This is the downside to the youngster. I hope as he matures as a person, he will also mature as a player and realise he doesn’t need to produce histrionics to be a top player. He does have amazing technical ability though.
I have to say I was impressed by Internacional midfielder playmaker Oscar. He has a touch of Kaka about him. He looks set to complete a move to the Premier League with Chelsea and I look forward to seeing him in the English top flight next season.
My only concern at the moment for the 20 year-old would be his physique. As the Spanish have proved in recent years though it’s not your size that matters, its how you use it. I hope the youngster settles in England, as I believe he could be a really big talent.
Brazil boss Mano Menezes has stated that 70 per cent of the World Cup squad for 2014 will come from the Olympic squad. The Brazilians have always viewed tournaments like this as a stepping stone to World Cups.
The Olympics’ are vital in Brazil’s preparation for the World Cup on home soil, as it will be the only real competitive action the national side will have ahead of the big one. Its vital that the head coach manages to gel the team together.
After World Cup 2010 the whole Brazilian national side was rebuilt. Menezes has shown faith in the talented crop of youngsters he has at his disposal and in time I’m sure that faith will pay off.
Brazil have never claimed a gold at the Olympic football competition, but this team has the potential to be Olympic champions. This group of younger players are arguably the most talented that Brazil has produced for along time and they should thrive at the games.
Menezes has huge pressure on him to claim gold in London and should he fail to do so his job could be on the line.
If Team GB didn’t know how difficult it would be to claim gold on home soil before this game, they do now. It will be very difficult for Team GB to win a medal of any sort with the likes of Brazil, Spain and Argentina in the competition.
One thing that’s for sure is that they will need to perform far better than they did against Brazil, or the host nation could be in for a very disappointing few weeks.
Can Team GB claim a medal on home soil?