It's great not being abused! Bellamy delighted to be part of Olympic success
13:04 GMT, 2 August 2012
Craig Bellamy is relishing playing in front of a passionate home support – after spending his career being hated from the stands.
The Welshman has been inspirational in helping Team GB book a place in the quarter-finals of the Olympic football team.
Stuart Pearce's men face South Korea at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday as they edge closer to a place on the podium.
Main man: Craig Bellamy has helped Team GB into the quarter-finals of the Olympic competition
'We are brilliant at finding the negatives,' Bellamy said.
'Unfortunately that is our culture.
'It is not the media. That is what we are. You serve us. You feed us. That is what we want.
'But at these GB games there is a lot to be proud of.
'It has been an incredible experience. To have been involved in just a tiny little fraction and see how much people want you to do well has been huge.
'It can be a difficult life sometimes. The abuse you can receive, or the praise, which is not quite realistic. You have to learn to have broad shoulders.
'But this has been fantastic. It really has. It has been a pleasure to be involved.'
Marching on: Daniel Sturridge scored the winner as Team GB beat Uruguay in Cardiff
In truth, as professional sportsmen,
the GB squad would probably have been interested in the exploits of
Bradley Wiggins and Rebecca Adlington anyway.
But their experiences feel so much more real for having shared the same space, albeit for a brief time as the football tournament has required them to move around so much.
'We watch everything,' said Bellamy. 'That is why the Olympics are so great.
'From the moment you wake up there are so many different events and you want to get behind them all.
'To wear the same badges and kit it is just brilliant.'
Such is the English influence on Pearce's squad, particularly in the backroom staff, that it is sometimes easy to forget there is a significant Welsh presence in the GB squad.
Medal contention: Team GB celebrate their win as they edge towards a podium place
Apart from the accent, that means a
significant difference in attitude, which Bellamy highlighted when he
was asked about the prospect of facing hot favourites Brazil in a
semi-final next week when he knew South Korea must be navigated in
Cardiff on Saturday night first.
'That is you English,' he said.
'You look too far ahead. That is what you lot do. That's why you struggle. I watch England fans sometimes and see the way they react and think 'be careful, you could go out in the next game'.
'It is brilliant that football can generate that buzz. But also there is luck. Even going into injury-time last night, I didn't think we were through.
'I am Welsh. I don't think we are going to come second or third or whatever. I just want to try and beat South Korea.'
Wathing brief: Team GB boss Stuart Pearce keeps an eye on his side in Cardiff
In any case, for all their
free-scoring, free-flowing football, which has, following the surprise
departures of Spain and Uruguay, seen them understandably installed as
overwhelming favourites, Brazil are not the team Bellamy has been most
impressed with so far.
'It's Japan,' he said.
'They are such a good team and their work ethic is admirable.
'They are the benchmark and we have to work like them. That is the standard we must reach in this tournament.
'It is difficult for European teams. Look at Spain. We are three weeks into pre-season.
'But we have the legs and we have the quality. And luckily, it is coming out in abundance.'