Maybe I should apologise to Stuart Pearce for doubting him prior to the Olympic tournament. But if I did that, I know I’d come to regret it somewhere down the line.
The truth is, I still don’t trust Pearce (pictured). I still don’t understand his Great Britain squad selection and I still don’t understand his tactics. A set of tactics that, by his own admission, needed changing in order to force a turning point.
But against all the doubters – a group that was marshalled together by myself, who sat in silent fury as so much more could have been offered – Team GB are through to the quarter-finals of the competition. They qualified as winner of Group A and now play South Korea on Saturday evening (7.30pm)
The last group game against Uruguay was something of a personal victory for select members of the team, rather than a collective triumph. The truth is, this is a good Uruguay side who performed woefully for much of the game. Were it not for Edinson Cavani being forced to set up camp on the flanks, and Luis Suarez deployed as the furthest forward striker, we might have seen something better.
But Great Britain had their moments. Craig Bellamy was excellent again, driving to the by-line and forcing the issue. His fighting spirit and underlying desire to wind up his opponents was never lost, even after he was substituted.
Aaron Ramsey and Tom Cleverly also gave promising performances, and their creativity will be relied upon heavily as the tournament progresses. Cleverly is regaining his strength and Ramsey, importantly, is rediscovering his confidence. Neither are the finished article, but the match against Uruguay was extremely promising.
Bet365 offer these odds on the game:
11/10 GB, 11/5 Draw, 13/5 South Korea
Great Britain should be able to exert their quality against South Korea. Pearce’s team have pace as well as the passing range to punish the Koreans, who enter the knockout phase with only the single win.
Pearce is a good man to have around for motivational purposes and to keep a young group of players grounded. He can be inspiring, but I don’t just trust him as a manager. I simply can’t lay to rest that David James incident, when Pearce inexplicably sent the goalkeeper on as striker at Manchester City in 2005.
Great Britain will have enough about them to progress further. If Daniel Sturridge is a little sharper, and that problematic space between the midfield and defence isn’t exploited consistently by the opposition, the team will be fine.
Note, one of Uruguay’s moments of promise came when Micah Richards advanced into that dodgy area where no one in the Great Britain midfield is capable of holding, almost surrendering the 1-0 lead.
Great Britain v South Korea betting tips advice
Despite their undoubted frailties, Team GB should be able to overcome these opponents and GB are worth a bet at 11/10 with Bet365 Bookmaker to do exactly that.