How much will home advantage help Great Britain’s men’s football team at this summer’s Olympics? Not too significantly if the manner in which they were brushed aside by Brazil at the Riverside Stadium on Friday night.
It took the 6/4 gold-medal favourites just 12 minutes to find a way past Stuart Pearce’s men as Tottenham midfielder Sandro nodded them in front from a free-kick and they had already threatened to score prior to that.
Neymar doubled the advantage from the penalty spot before half time after being brought down by Micah Richards, one of the three overage players included in Great Britain’s squad.
The main reason the margin didn’t grow wider in the second half was an inspired performance from half-time substitute Jack Butland, the goalkeeper who travelled with England to Euro 2012 but has never performed higher than at League Two level.
The clearest indication of the gulf in class between the two sides was that Great Britain managed only one shot all evening, while their play was also far less fluid, which was no shock given their comparative lack of preparation.
Pearce suggested afterwards that whoever can beat Brazil in the tournament will likely claim gold, and with a depth of defensive as well as attacking quality, it isn’t a surprise that they are fancied even over Spain, who are 9/4 second favourites.
Great Britain meanwhile are a distant 10/1 despite being fourth in the pecking order. Getting out of Group A is no formality either as they meet 7/1 hopefuls Uruguay, the UAE and Senegal, who luckily haven’t called on Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse.
The women’s side are expected to find it even tougher to win their competition, with odds of 14/1 putting them some way behind elite three USA (15/8), Brazil (4/1) and Japan (4/1). They drew their friendly at Middlesbrough 0-0 with Sweden.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.