Ryan Giggs, who will captain the British soccer team at the Olympic Games, speaks during a Team Great Britain soccer news conference at the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park in Stratford, the location of the London 2012 Olympic Games, in east London July 16, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Olivia Harris)
In just over a week, the men's soccer tournament will kick off at the 2012 London Olympics when Mexico and South Korea begin the battle for the top of Group B. That day will also showcase eight matches from four different groups. The group stage of the tournament is set to end on August 1st with the Gold Medal match to be played on August 11.
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Group A of the tournament presents an interesting quandary as it showcases the host nation Great Britain as well as Senegal and the United Arab Emirates. However, Uruguay may be the team to take the group as they are the country responsible for the fact that 2008 champion Argentina did not qualify for the tournament.
Here is a look into the four combatants of Group A of the men's soccer tournament of the 2012 Olympics.
Uruguay: The South Americans stunned the world Monday by including Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in a lineup that showcases mainly players under the age of 23.
Suarez is one of three over aged players on the squad, the other two being Edison Cavani and Arevalo Rios. Suarez of course is infamous for the handball in 2010 that ultimately ended the hopes of Ghana in the South Africa World Cup. After a tremendous performance in the Copa America 2011, Suarez is poised to have a breakout tournament for the Uruguayans.
Great Britain: The host nation is set to be a combination of players from the different countries of Great Britain. Original speculation had celebrity David Beckham on the squad, but ultimately he was not given the chance. Instead 38-year old Ryan Gibbs was not only added to the squad, but was given the captaincy. He was never given an opportunity to succeed on the international stage, so this Olympic run will be all the more essential to him. The team is coached by Stuart Pearce and boasts a wealth of experience. Alongside Uruguay, they are favorites to win the group. Their first test will be against a speedy Senegal squad. It will be interesting to see how the fans rally around their squad throughout the tournament.
Senegal: The Africans are long shots to take this group as they draw Great Britain in their opening match and follow it up with a date with Uruguay. When the time comes for them to face their "easiest" opponent (United Arab Emirates), they may already be eliminated. They are in their first Olympic tournament ever.
United Arab Emirates: The UAE squad is also experiencing the Olympic games for the first time in history. During their qualification campaign, they won seven of their ten matches and drew the remaining three. If either Great Britain or Uruguay under-perform, this may be the surprise qualifier from the group.
Great Britain- 2 wins, 1 draw, 7 Points
Uruguay- 1 win, 2 draws, 5 points
United Arab Emirates- 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss 4 points
Senegal- 0 wins, 3 losses, 0 points
Fueled by an enthusiastic crowd, Great Britain takes two of their three games and ties their match with Uruguay. Senegal becomes the punching bag of the group and drops all three matches. United Emirates finds themselves out of the tournament due to a loss to Great Britain and tie to Uruguay.
WATCH THE OPENING MATCHES OF GROUP A HERE.
Read on GROUP B.
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