London 2012 Olympics: Great Britain 1 - 0 Uruguay: Daniel Sturridge hits winner as British men follow girls into quarter-finals
GREAT Britain’s men followed the women into the Olympic quarter-finals as Daniel Sturridge netted the only goal against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium last night.
Scorers: Great Britain - Sturridge (45)
Stuart Pearce’s men admirably opted not to follow the lead of those discredited badminton players by trying to engineer a result that would keep them out of Brazil’s way until the final.
Instead, should they come through a last-eight meeting with South Korea in Cardiff on Saturday evening, they will face the hot favourites at Old Trafford next Tuesday.
Had Gaston Ramirez’s injury-time effort not rattled the bar, they would have avoided that fate. It is a shame too, because with Spain already out and Uruguay making their exit here in typically bad-tempered fashion, GB would otherwise be a strong contender to reach the final at Wembley on 11 August.
Sturridge’s goal was the least they deserved from yet another encouraging display, which maintained improvement from previous matches.
The Chelsea man has now scored two in two games, a fact the watching Roy Hodgson – whose England team take on Italy in a fortnight – cannot help but have noticed.
Over the past month, through a kitting-out session at Loughborough, a combined visit to the Olympic Village a week later, and then time spent in the north-east around that double-header in Middlesbrough, a bond has been forged between the men’s and women’s teams.
It is impossible therefore to believe Pearce’s squad have not been able to feed off the sensational performances of Hope Powell’s counterparts, culminating in that outstanding win over Brazil 24 hours earlier.
And they were eager to make it a case of whatever you can do, so can we. Britain went about their task with relishand Ramsey flashed a first-half shot across goal, bisecting the far post and the outstretched legs of Sturridge and Scott Sinclair.
Craig Bellamy, named skipper in the absence of rested Ryan Giggs, also came close to turning home Micah Richards’ knock-down. Then Allen wove a neat pattern inside the Uruguay box before drilling the low cross which Sturridge prodded home from close range.
Luis Suarez ended the half throwing a piece of loose turf to the ground in disgust. The South Americans, so fancied beforehand, had been a major disappointment and this was no exception.
Suarez was one of the major culprits too, which merely fuelled the boos that rang out before kick-off and every time the Liverpool man touched the ball afterwards. His mood would not have improved 10 minutes after the restart when he created space for himself deep inside the Britain box, only to be foiled by the imposing figure of Jack Butland, the teenage goalkeeper who is having such an outstanding tournament.
The 19-year-old did even better when Uruguay attacked again, this time denying Suarez with a full-length fingertip save.
When he was subsequently booked for handball, the cheers at least made a change.
The next time he heard them was to signal the end of Uruguay’s interest in the competition.
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