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GB footballers given difficult groups

IN CHARGE: Pearce (left) and Powell

TEAM GB’S Olympic men’s and women’s football teams face tough draws at London 2012 in the summer.

Managed by Stuart Pearce, the men’s team were drawn in Group A along with Senegal, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

The women’s team, who are managed by Hope Powell, will face New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil in Group E.

The British men open their account on July 25 against Senegal at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff while the women have their first match on July 26 at Old Trafford against New Zealand.

The men’s squad will consist of 18 players, 15 of which have to be 23-years-old or younger.

"Uruguay will be tough but I wouldn't dismiss anyone," said Pearce.

"The addition of three overage players can contribute to a really strong side. It will be tough, tournament football always is. Everyone in the squad will have star quality but I'll pick the squad on merit.

"The squad may not reflect every home nation and celebrity but they will be the best 18 players who have the best opportunity to deliver a gold. That's my only criteria."

Powell, who has managed the England women’s team since 1998, said: "Brazil will be a great game at Wembley, they are always there or thereabouts in major tournaments.

"Now it is down to our preparations. We have every chance of progressing but we can't take it lightly. We played New Zealand in the World Cup last year and it was a very tough encounter. Cameroon are an unknown quantity.”

She added: "This gives us a great opportunity to showcase out sport, we open the Olympics and hopefully we can encourage more females to get into the sport."

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