Following Team GB’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Senegal in their opening match of the men’s Olympic football tournament in front of a packed Old Trafford, can they now dig deep and beat the rank outsiders of the competition; the United Arab Emirates this Sunday evening?
England were strong favourites at around 4/6 to take maximum points from their opening game, and while they dominated periods of it, it is plain to see that they are a team that lacks cohesion, fitness, and guile; hardly helped by the slapdash nature in which the squad was put together.
Senegal are considered a pretty weak team in this competition, and if Great Britain couldn’t see them off, do we really stand a chance of getting to the latter stages and possibly competing for a medal? It’s very unlikely on what we’ve seen between the friendly 2-0 loss against Brazil and their opening game stalemate.
Sunday’s clash with the UAE is now a must win encounter, however it would be folly to write off GB’s opponents too soon.
The United Arab Emirates breezed past a dreadful Sri Lankan team 10-1 on aggregate, followed by a 2-1 victory over North Korea to make the qualifying section which included Australia, Uzbekistan and Iraq.
Keeping five clean sheets and amassing 14 points in the group stage, the UAE played some excellent football, and while facing Great Britain on home turf is a further step up in class, backing Stuart Pearce’s team at odds as short as 2/7 may not be the way to go.
Regardless of the hype, Team GB is not particularly strong, and it may be worth lowering expectations a bit. The UAE are no mugs, and the draw is begging to be backed at huge value odds of 7/1.
Great Britain v United Arab Emirates kicks off at 7.45pm on Sunday 29th July and is live on BBC1.
Author profile: Ian Hutchison
Ian is chief editor at www.tvbet.co.uk where he provides betting previews and tips for major sporting events, combining over 20 years gambling experience with his passion for sport.