Great Britain 3 UAE 1: Britain bank on Scott as Sinclair strike turns tide after shock
22:36 GMT, 29 July 2012
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With David Beckham looking on from the stands, at least Stuart Pearce was spared an embarrassing post-match handshake with the pride of Britain.
Left out of the Olympic squad by Pearce, Beckham could have proved handy for Great Britain as UAE threatened to gatecrash this special Wembley evening.
Pearce’s picks, who led through Ryan Giggs’ 16th-minute header, had been pegged back by the world’s 115th best side, according to FIFA, when Rashed Eisa slipped the ball neatly beyond Jack Butland.
Super subs: Scott Sinclair put Great Britain 2-1 up before Daniel Sturridge's magnificent chip (below)
Great Britain: Butland, Taylor, Caulker, Tomkins, Richards, Cleverley, Allen, Giggs (Sinclair 72), Ramsey, Bellamy (Cork 83),
Sordell (Sturridge 46).
Subs Not Used: Steele, Bertrand, Rose, Dawson.
Goals: Giggs 16, Sinclair 73, Sturridge 76.
United Arab Emirates: Ali Khaseif, Hussain (Surour 51), Ahmad, Al Kamali, Amer Abdulrahman, Esmaeel (Fardan 81), Sanqour,
Omar Abdulrahman, Rashed Eisa, Matar (Ali 72), Khalil.
Subs Not Used: Khalid Eisa, Al Amri, Al Hammadi, Fawzi.
Booked: Esmaeel, Omar Abdulrahman.
Goals: Rashed Eisa 60.
Referee: Roberto Garcia Orozco (Mexico).
At 1-1, in front of a near capacity
Wembley crowd, the Union flags that had been waved so enthusiastically
were suddenly being discarded on stairwells. The fans had come to see
Team GB wipe the floor with UAE and power towards the medal podium at
the start of this Olympic adventure.
For a time it looked as though they
would get their wish after Craig Bellamy provided the cross for Team GB
captain Giggs to score with a neat header back across the goalkeeper.
Ultimately they needed second-half substitutes Scott Sinclair and Daniel
Sturridge to pull them through.
For all the possession Britain enjoyed, they lack the style of Senegal or the brazen approach of Brazil.
Pearce said: ‘We made hard work for ourselves. We wanted to make the game more comfortable.
‘We conceded a goal and were on the back foot, but credit to the subs. They made a real impact.
‘There were good performances from Joe
Allen and Craig Bellamy. We were pleased to get the result. Now it is
sudden death between us and Uruguay in the group. It’s all to play for.
‘Tonight we went into a game we know
we must win. The pressure goes up a notch on Wednesday. It is great to
learn, but more important for young players.’
To strike for gold there will need to be major improvements, but at least Team GB are embracing the Olympic movement.
Fist pump: Ryan Giggs celebrates his opening goal
Noddy: Giggs scored with a back-post header
SPAIN GO CRASHING OUT
European and world champions Spain were eliminated from the competition after losing 1-0 to Honduras. Click here for report.
The players spent the night before the game at the Athletes’ Village in Stratford, savouring the atmosphere.
Some of Great Britain’s stars are
accustomed to five-star luxury, travelling in style as they head for the
continent on Champions League nights.
This is a different experience,
bedding down in tiny athlete accommodation the night before taking to
the field for their second match in Group A.
Sinclair and Sturridge settled the
match with goals after 73 and 76 minutes to leave Britain level on four
points with Senegal in after Abdoukarime Diouf’s team beat Uruguay ahead
of the main event.
Giggs put an anxious opening behind This side with a well-timed header at the far post that put them ahead.
The National Anthem is a bigger
problem for the Welsh contingent, with Giggs, Bellamy, Aaron Ramsey,
Allen and Neil Taylor remaining silent during its pre-match playing,
showing respect for the ritual but refusing to join in with their
One track mind: Daniel Sturridge fires in an effort
They are thrilled to be part of the
team, but they are not prepared to risk their reputations with the
nationalist supporters back in Wales.
Every player in the UAE plies his club trade in his home country, underlining the gulf in talent between the two teams.
At least Team GB are raising the level of performance after a mixed start to their temporary careers at Olympic level.
Beaten easily by Brazil in a friendly
at the Riverside before the tournament, they staggered to a 1-1 draw
against expressive Senegal at Old Trafford.
Battle: Aaron Ramsey kicks the ball past Rashed Eisa
But, after failing to press home their
territorial advantage last night, they conceded an embarrassing
equaliser in the second half.
Sloppy play at this level is always
costly and Eisa was allowed to roam through the home back four to score
an equaliser with a neat finish beyond Birmingham goalkeeper Butland.
Bundle: Micah Richards took no prisoners
Olympic spirit: David Beckham chats to Prince William
Sinclair, on as a substitute, settled
the nerves when he finished off a rebound in the six-yard box, and
Sturridge, dropped after his performance against Senegal, scored the
third with a delightful lob.
Pearce said: ‘He didn’t play well in
Manchester. He missed a week with illness, in fairness, but he could
have done better there. He was disappointed and we spoke about it, but
good for him to get a goal.’
It spelled the end for the UAE and, though the display was hardly impressive, Team GB are still on course a place on the podium.
Determination: Ahmed Khalil vies with Steven Caulker for the ball
Nice one pal: Craig Bellamy congratulates his compatriot Giggs after his strike
Meanwhile in Coventry… by Neil Moxley
Two British-based players were on the scoresheet as South Korea disappointed Sepp Blatter at the City of Coventry Stadium.
Arsenal's Chu-young Park and new Cardiff City recruit Bokyung Kim struck in the second-half as the FIFA president saw his Swiss compatriots fall to a 2-1 defeat.
The Gunners' striker opened the scoring in dramatic fashion with a 57th-minute diving header.
Innocent Emeghara then equalised two minutes later in an equally eye-catching manner, converting Ricardo Rodriguez's inviting centre.
That set the stage for the Championship's latest recruit, a 2.5m capture from Osaka last Friday to settle the issue in the 64th minute.
The midfielder lashed home on the full after Jacheol Koo's cross deflected off the back of defender Fabian Frei and Kim smashed home a spectacular winner.