Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughPearce finds perfect answer with excelling experience - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Pearce finds perfect answer with excelling experience - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Pearce finds perfect answer with excelling experience

Team GB’s unique odyssey into the football competition of the home 2012 Olympic Games rolls into Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Wednesday as Stuart Pearce’s men need just a point from an appointment with Uruguay to progress into the quarter-finals. It is fitting for Team GB that the group decider should come in the country that has hailed the two catalysts for the side’s promising position in these games, the aging excellence of Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs.

That Pearce should be exhuming about the professional qualities of his lynchpin duo, two of the three overage picks in the ex-England defender’s squad together with Micah Richards, on the eve of such an important match is no surprise in that with two superb performances from each evergreen international, they have spearheaded to a promising position a squad which resides mostly on the youthful side of 23 years of age.

Like the strategic floor-organisers of the play, pulling the strings for the more significant parts of the drama to seize the stage, there has been somewhat of a contradiction in 38 year old Giggs and 33 year old Bellamy’s performances in that it has stolen some of the limelight from those who were billed to shine brightest in a competition catered for under-23s. Joe Allen and Tom Cleverley were adept in ball retention against the UAE while Daniel Sturridge has performed well in both games, Scott Sinclair emerged from the bench to break a nervous re-deadlock in the second match, but it has all been against the backdrop of the contributions made by the two elder-statesmen who have played a part in 3 of the 4 goals scored so far.

It was Giggs’ free-kick which caused ultra-confusion in the box for Bellamy to sweep home against Senegal, while Bellamy returned the favour for the Manchester United midfielder’s header to open the deadlock against UAE at Wembley. Giggs was withdraw for Swansea’s promising Sinclair later on Sunday night, but Bellamy’s continuous influence allowed the winger to immediately make an impact by sweeping home the Liverpool man’s cross. An audacious lob by Sturridge later and Team GB sit pretty at the top of group A, a decent feat for Pearce when it is considered Spain’s passing masters quest for global domination has already stalled with elimination from group D.

It is in group C where the most obvious threat to the gold medal lies of course with a rejuvenated Brazil relying on two twenty year olds the grotesquely talented Neymar and new £25 million Chelsea signing Oscar. Contributions from Hulk and Lucas Moura should not be overlooked in what is a hugely talented squad at the disposal of Mano Menezes, but it comes in a tournament in which the undeniable talent of the likes of Iker Munian, Jordi Alba, Juan Mata and Javi Martinez have failed to stamp their mark in successive 1-0 defeats to Japan and Honduras. Even Liverpool’s twinkle-footed Luis Suarez has looked a diminished force for tomorrow’s opposition of Uruguay, while Team GB find a kind of typifying solace in the never-ending class of two attacking midfielders in the late Autumn of their careers.

At one year Giggs’ junior, it would be wrong not to mention the presence of David Beckham around the periphery of the squad, stubbornly denied a place in the squad despite the fanfare and support that threatened to engulf Pearce’s preparations. Beckham’s decision to take a place in the obscure back-waters of the MLS in America as well as an unfortunate history with injuries has seen his importance diminish in a sporting realm, settling instead for his ambassadorial role that hit an underwhelming crescendo by contributing to the opening ceremony via way of speedboat. Giggs, his former wing-partner at Manchester United, has instead remained a disciple of professionalism and has seen a steady flow of medals and trophies as a result. That Giggs is still proving his class, in admittedly new waters of a major international stage that has eluded such a fine career, is testament to the sporting excellence he has subscribed too. Beckham meanwhile, can only dream of having the same impact in competition.

Stuart Pearce, who will understand better than most the vitality of keeping a committal to professionalism having been available to England until the ripe old age of 37, is fully within his rights to indulge in the sensational example being set by Giggs and Bellamy in their mid-30s to a generation that operates at a decade their junior. The journey that this Team GB side has embarked on, from the controversy of its initial entry to the vociferous disappointment of the Beckham exclusion, if Giggs and Bellamy can prove their unshakeable class to be infectious to the younger members of the squad and help, for instance, the rehabilitation of the formerly injured Aaron Ramsey, it will be a journey thoroughly proven in worth.