Britain handed Uruguay test

Britain handed Uruguay test

Stuart Pearce

Stuart Pearce

First published in National Sport News © by

Great Britain's men face a tough group in the Olympic football tournament after being drawn against Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates and Senegal for the London 2012 Games.

Stuart Pearce's side will kick off the tournament against Senegal at Old Trafford, Manchester, on July 26, then play the UAE at Wembley on July 29 and finish the group against Uruguay in Cardiff on August 1.

Uruguay were viewed as the toughest opponents Team GB could have faced while Senegal qualified on Monday night after beating Oman in a play-off at Coventry.

Uruguay and Senegal could both potentially call on some star players from the Premier League - Newcastle strike duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are from Senegal - while Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is from Uruguay.

Spain, seeds in Group D, will play Japan in Glasgow on July 26, Honduras at St James' Park, Newcastle on July 29 and Morocco in Manchester on August 1.

Brazil, seeded as the "all-time top Olympic performer" despite never winning the competition, will be in Group C playing Egypt in Cardiff (July 26), Belarus in Manchester (July 29) and New Zealand in Newcastle (August 1).

Mexico, seeded as the highest-ranked country outside of Europe and South America, will be in Group B playing South Korea in Newcastle (July 26), Gabon in Coventry (July 29) and Switzerland in Cardiff (August 1).

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said at the draw ceremony: "This is a unique opportunity for the UK to share in the Olympic Games and to share in the spirit of the Games and to say at the end of the process that 'I was there'. I am delighted this football tournament will play such a role in the Games."

Pearce revealed he would be travelling to the United States to see former England captain David Beckham, now with the Los Angeles Galaxy, but insisted there were no guarantees of inclusion to anyone - including Beckham. He told BBC Sport: "(I will pick) solely on merit. It's the only way any manager picks a squad or a team and I will do exactly the same.

"I will know a bit more when I go to the States to see what form (Beckham) is in, he's made the shortlist and he has been a great ambassador for this country and the Olympics, but that's no recommendation that he will get in the squad and that's fair and square across the board for all players."

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