Pearce draws positives from penalty KO and puts quarter-final defeat down as a 'learning experience' for Team GB players
23:31 GMT, 4 August 2012
Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce believes his players are stronger for their Olympic experience despite seeing them suffer penalty shoot-out heartache in their quarter-final defeat to South Korea.
The Millennium Stadium clash had finished 1-1 after 120 minutes, and the first eight attempts of the shoot-out were successful.
But Daniel Sturridge had his effort palmed away by substitute goalkeeper Lee Bumyoung, with Celtic's Ki Sung-Yueng stepping up to send Korea into a semi-final meeting with Brazil.
Dejected: The Team GB players will learn from this experience according to Stuart Pearce
Sturridge was not the only man to misfire from the spot as Aaron Ramsey missed a penalty during normal time.
The Wales captain had converted from the spot to level after Ji Dongwon's opener, but could not repeat the feat a few minutes later.
But Pearce believes that Sturridge, Ramsey and the whole squad are all the better for being a part of Team GB.
He said: 'Dan got the winner three days ago that got us out of the group stages and tonight he is on the end of missing a penalty.
'But we are in this together, the important thing is that all the players have had an experience to make them better and stronger.
'Some of those experiences are scoring goals and winners, and some of those experiences are having days like today when you are disappointed because you missed a penalty.
'But experiences like that make you stronger and he will benefit from this tournament without a doubt.'
Pearce added: 'The individuals who have come here and contributed go back to their clubs and countries the better for it.'
Daniel Sturridge missed GB's fifth penalty which ultimately sent the Brits crashing out
The defeat, in all-too-familiar fashion, not least for Pearce, came at the end of a day that had seen Team GB win six Olympic golds, their highest tally in a single day's competition since 1908.
Pearce could not hide the disappointment of seeing his side's medal hopes extinguished, just as those of Hope Powell's women's team had been just 24 hours earlier.
But he insisted he did not feel apprehensive when the game went to penalties, despite England's wretched shoot-out history. England provide the bulk of the British squad.
'I felt excitement,' Pearce said. 'I prepare my teams from day one, the first day we got together as a group we practised penalties and that's the same with the (England) Under-21s.
'We studied thoroughly and once we get to a penalty shoot-out situation I see myself and my team as favourites.
'The victors of this game were assured of two more matches and two chances at a medal and that is the disappointment, probably more so for the players who have enjoyed their time here.
Aaron Ramsey had a penalty saved in the game which could have made it 2-1 to GB
Ramsey had earlier scored the equaliser for Stuart Pearce's men
'I would have liked to see how we would have developed as a team playing more and more games.'
Pearce, who said he would have to wait to find out the severity of the ankle injury that forced Manchester City defender Micah Richards off in the second half, reiterated that he would like to see a GB side in Rio in four years, but does not expect it to happen.
'It would be fantastic but I don't think it will happen again,' he said.
'Home advantage has allowed us to have this opportunity, but when you look at international programmes and bringing nationalities together, where are we going to find the time to enter a qualification period'
South Korea coach Hong Myung Bo believed his side's mental toughness had been key in their triumph.
He said: 'I expected us to have difficulty with fatigue from our previous games and the travelling, but the players performed beyond expectations.
'The reason we won was we were a little stronger than the GB team when it comes to the mental side of the game.'