3rd August 2012
Having exceeded expectations in the group phase, Team GB are now expected to make it to the semi-finals at South Korea’s expense, but the match at Millennium Stadium will be anything but a walk in the park for Stuart Pearce’s side. The Taegeuk Warriors have conceded just one goal so far, and they now aim to extend their unbeaten run to four games and thus increase their chances of making it to the semis.
With Brazil, Spain and Uruguay all taking the 2012 Summer Olympics very seriously, it was hardly a surprise that Great Britain were not seen as one of the candidates for the trophy, especially as Stuart Pearce had very little time to work on team’s preparation for the tournament finals. The situation only got worse when Team GB were held to 1-1 draw in their opening game against Senegal, but little did the fans know that it would prove to be their only slip-up in group stage. Great Britain showed considerable improvement to beat UAE and Uruguay, and they are now just few steps away from winning one of the medals. The two victories served as a major confidence boost and further improved the team spirit, so one can be forgiven for believing Team GB will win their third game in a row. With Ryan Giggs returning to the side to help in-form Craig Bellamy and Daniel Sturridge, the hosts look a good bet to see of South Korea in Cardiff.
Given their senior national team tend to be tough nut to crack even for world’s strongest sides, South Korea’s Olympic squad were always going to create a couple of surprises at the 2012 Summer Games. Boasting players who are plying their trade in top European leagues, such as Ki Sung-Yong, Koo Ja-Cheol, Park Chu-Young and Ji Dong-Won, and some very talented players from domestic league, boss Hong Myung-Bo managed to create a very homogenous unit, with excellent working rate and defensive organization their key strengths. As a result, South Korea made it through to the quarter-finals without losing a single game in group stage and conceding just one goal in the process. In all fairness, they only scored two goals in three games, but that proved to be enough for five points and the second place in the group. The Red Devils are now expected to give Team GB a real run for their money, but that might not be enough to qualify for the semi-finals.
Team GB have really gained momentum thanks to impressive showings against UAE and Uruguay, and even though they are in for a difficult task in the quarter-finals, the odds are their quality and experience will prevail in the clash against South Korea. The Taegeuk Warriors have done well to go this far, but this looks like the end of the road for them.
Verdict: Great Britain to qualify
Best Odds: 11/20