Team GB top Group A
Team GB 1-0 Uruguay
London 2012 Olympic Games
7.45pm, Wednesday 1 August 2012
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Live on BBC3
Great Britain will face South Korea in the quarter final of the Olympic men’s football tournament after Daniel Sturridge’s first-half strike handed Stuart Pearce’s side a slender 1-0 win against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium.
Following a largely uneventful first half, a spark of genius from Swansea City midfielder Joe Allen produced the easiest of opportunities for Sturridge, who prodded home from close-range in first-half stoppage time.
And Pearce’s men have replicated the feats of Hope Powell’s women’s side in qualifying for the next phase as group winners.
A sluggish start from both sides led to a somewhat cagey atmosphere, with Scott Sinclair’s deflected shot in the seventh minute the only notable effort of the first 20 minutes.
Team GB started to gain the upper hand though, with Welshmen Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey the most impressive performers. Ramsey, the Arsenal midfielder, drove Britain forward with greater gusto than his midfield cohorts, while Bellamy was a constant thorn in the side of the Uruguayan defence with his menacing movement down the right flank.
Uruguay broke forward midway through the first half, but Gaston Ramirez, who scored during his side’s opening Group A clash with United Arab Emirates, saw his wild long-range effort clear Jack Butland’s crossbar.
And as the two sides looked to be heading into the interval with honours even, the Swansea City duo of Sinclair and Allen combined to allow Sturridge to break the deadlock with seconds left on the clock.
Sinclair, who started in place of Ryan Giggs, cut in from the left before releasing Allen inside the box. Allen’s classy turn took out two defenders before he expertly guided the ball towards Sturridge, who prodded home from one yard out for his second goal of the Olympics.
With Uruguay needing to win to stand any chance of going through, the game unsurprisingly opened up in the second half.
Allen registered the first meaningful effort of the second half, but his low drive from outside the box was well held by goalkeeper Martin Campaña.
However, Team GB soon had Butland to thank for the protection of their lead after the young Birmingham City goalkeeper thwarted Luis Suarez with a series of excellent saves.
The Liverpool forward capitalised on hesitant defending from Steven Caulker, before seeing two close-range efforts repelled by the 19-year-old.
Uruguay pressed forward in search of an equaliser, but a combination of strong defending and a lack of composure prevented the visitors from scoring, although Ramirez provided a late scare when his blistering left-footed piledriver in the fourth minute of injury-time crashed off the crossbar, but Team GB held on to secure three points and their place in the quarter-finals.