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Remembering the absolute shambles of Team GB at the 2012 Olympics

Stuart Pearce unsurprisingly couldn't lead Marvin Sordell and co to gold medal glory

Everyone was so excited about this at the time.

What do you get when you mix a 38-year-old Ryan Giggs, with “prospect” Marvin Sordell, and defensive colossus Steven Caulker?

Answer, the Great Britain football side at the 2012 Olympic Games.


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The legendary lineup

Alan Walter - The Times
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The legendary lineup

It was the first time Great Britain were represented by a football team since 1960 and if you’re a fan of hilarious football stories, then it was certainly worth the wait.

The squad was announced in July 2012, with Manchester United legend Giggs confirmed as captain.

Give it Giggsy till end of season

PA:Press Association
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Give it Giggsy till end of season

Olympic rules meant that only three players over the age of 23 were allowed to be selected.

The rest of the team was made up of players under the age of 23 from England and Wales, throwing up some brilliant inclusions in the process.

Marvin Sordell, Jason Steele, and Steven Caulker, just to name a few, have failed to reach the dizzy heights of an Olympic podium since 2012.

Remember when Liverpool signed him on loan?

Getty - Contributor
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Remember when Liverpool signed him on loan?

A young Jack Butland also made the squad, the only player to be selected for both the Olympics and England’s Euro 2012 squad.

But who would be the fearless leader of this side?


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Who could Great Britain trust to guide this team, a team brimming with the right mix of potential and experience, to gold medal success?

The chosen one… Stuart Pearce.

Better than Pep

Arfa Griffiths - The Sun
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Better than Pep

Pearce, who was England U21 Manager at the time, nobly took up the role for the Olympic’s squad too.

He dropped the first clanger of his reign by not picking David Beckham as an over 23 player for the squad.

‘Pyscho’ put his tactical stamp on the side, deploying Swansea’s Neil Taylor at centre back, with Giggs pulling the strings in the middle.

Here’s the team in all its glory

State of that

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State of that

Team GB’s first group game took place in front of 72,000 fans at Old Trafford, as they played out a 1-1 draw against Senegal – inspiring stuff.

Craig Bellamy scored against the Senegal side which included Sadio Mane, Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrissa Gueye.

The next game was an improvement, Team GB beating UAE 3-1 at Wembley, with Giggs, Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge all getting on the score-sheet.

He managed to avoid injury all tournament

Getty - Contributor
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He managed to avoid injury all tournament

Sturridge continued his goal-scoring form in the next game, netting the only goal in the 1-0 win against Uruguay.

The opposition side had Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in their ranks that day, but the pair were kept quiet by Micah Richards and Neil Taylor.

In the quarter-finals, it all went wrong for Team GB though.


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A defeat on penalties against South Korea meant it was the end of the line for this side.

Imagine if Bellamy had won a goal medal

Getty Images - Getty
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Imagine if Bellamy had won a goal medal

Aaron Ramsey had scored from the spot earlier to take the game into extra-time, but Sturridge missed the crucial penalty during the shootout at the Millennium Stadium.

It was a bit of a shambolic end to what was otherwise a promising run.

A friendly before the tournament… Neymar’s career has gone somewhat better than Allen’s since

Getty - Contributor
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A friendly before the tournament… Neymar’s career has gone somewhat better than Allen’s since

What we all hoped would be an exciting summer of football, turned into yet another year of disappointment.

The underwhelming performance from England at Euro 2012 earlier in the summer, book-ended fittingly by Team GB’s failure at the Olympics.

These ultras never gave up hope though

Getty Images - Getty
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These ultras never gave up hope though

Even the Team GB kit was priced at £55, which was ridiculously steep at the time.

You would like to think that any future Team GB football side would be better equipped to challenge for gold.

A 22-year-old Gareth Bale was ruled out of the 2012 games due to injury, but he could well be a star for the next Team GB side.

Bring on the 2020 Olympics?


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