Football - GB outclassed by Brazil in Olympic warm-up

Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain side slipped to a 2-0 defeat to a star-studded Brazil side in their Olympic warm-up match at The Riverside Stadium as the gold medal favourites demonstrated a gulf in class between the two sides.

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Football - GB outclassed by Brazil in Olympic warm-up
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Brazil's Neymar (2nd R) celebrates scoring with teammates during their Olympic men's friendly soccer match against Team GB ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, northern England, July 20, 2012 (Reuters)

A looping header from Sandro and a penalty from Neymar proved the difference and despite some encouraging moments for GB, they were never able to seriously threaten Rafael Barbosa’s goal.

As expected, a Brazil team boasting a starting eleven with full international caps settled into a fluid passing rhythm from the off and made GB look every inch a team that hadn’t played together before.

And it wasn’t long before the home side’s defence was found wanting, Neymar stealing ahead of James Tomkins with his electric pace only for the Santos star to blast over with the goal at his mercy.

Moments later, Brazil were ahead and with Neymar this time the architect, floating his free kick onto Tottenham’s Sandro whose cushioned header looped over Jason Steele and into the far corner of the net.

Team GB’s chances were few and far between, Ryan Giggs providing most of the creative spark. The Welshman nearly carved out an equaliser, lifting a cross to the far post to Micah Richards whose header across goal left Barbosa flapping before the defence scrambled clear.

But with Oscar running the show in the middle of the park, Brazil always looked likely to add to their lead. They had their chance when Richards clumsily brought down Hulk in the box to concede a blatant penalty. The Man City defender was lucky to get away with only a yellow card but Neymar punished GB by slotting away the resultant penalty into the bottom left corner.

Hulk nearly caught Steele unawares just before the break, feigning to cross before rifling a shot into the side netting, but the home side were relieved to hear the half time whistle.

Stuart Pearce rung the changes at the break, bringing on Scott Sinclair, Jack Cork, Steven Caulker and Jack Butland on for Daniel Sturridge, James Tomkins, Ryan Bertrand and Jason Steele.

And the home side started the half brightly, Danny Rose in particular asking questions with a string of crosses from the left byline, one finding Craig Bellamy just offside although Barbosa reacted well to beat away his point blank shot.

But Brazil could and perhaps should have had the game won by an even greater margin but for the heroics of Butland in goal, the sub keeper pulling off a string of brilliant saves to deny Neymar, Lucas Moura and Alexandro Pato.

After a comprehensive defeat in Middlesbrough, the competition proper begins when Team GB meet Senegal on July 26 at Old Trafford, before games against the UAE at Wembley and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium.

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