Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain have not got off to the start he would have hoped after an under whelming 2-0 defeat to Brazil at the Riverside Stadium.
The friendly was the final dress rehearsal for the opening group game against Sengal next week, and has left Pearce and his team with plenty of room for improvement.
Against a strong Brazilian side, Great Britain appeared inferior to their opposition, and had just one effort on target in the entire match, that coming from Craig Bellamy. A side that featured Micah Richards, Ryan Giggs, Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen struggled to retain possession, and it was telling that goalkeeper Jack Butland was the home team’s standout player after coming to replace Jason Steele. He pulled off a number of outstanding saves in the second half, but the damage had occurred in the opening 45 minutes.
Neymar should have given Brazil the lead after just four minutes but blazed his effort wide. Seven minutes later and they made no such mistake, Spurs player Sandro nodding in Neymar’s clever free-kick. Brazil doubled their lead after the half-hour mark when Richards brought down Hulk in the area and Neymar dispatching the spot-kick past Steele.
Pearce remained upbeat after the match, reminding reporters of the quality of the opposition. “They’re an outstanding side, favourites for the tournament and you can see why,” said Pearce. “It was a real learning curve, but Senegal will be the acid test.”