Stuart Pearce expect pressure to rise for Team GB following ahead of Uruguay clash


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The Independent Online

Stuart Pearce admitted the pressure on his Great Britain side would reach another level on Wednesday after watching them set-up a sudden death Olympic clash with Uruguay.

Team GB beat UAE 3-1 at Wembley last night to go top of Group A at London 2012 and put themselves firmly on course for a quarter-final berth.

But despite a draw this week being enough to progress thanks to what was Britain's first win at an Olympic football tournament since 1960 - having not taken part for 52 years - Pearce dubbed Uruguay favourites.

He said: "Every game's a cup final - it literally is - when you play group stage football.

"And then obviously the pressure goes up against one more notch. It's us or Uruguay come Wednesday evening."

Spain's shock exit last night showed nothing could be taken for granted, although it also boosted Britain's hopes of a medal.

Pearce refused to get carried away, saying: "I've not seen anything to suggest that any team that beats Brazil will not win the final.

"I don't think we've been consistently good enough to look beyond the next game."

The momentum behind Britain grew yesterday as 85,137 turned up at Wembley to watch their historic win.

They can expect a similar attendance at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Wednesday but maybe not a similar level of support judging by the lukewarm response in Wales to the very concept of Team GB.

Pearce said: "I've been absolutely delighted with the support we've had, certainly in numbers, at Manchester and at Wembley.

"I think that will continue again in Cardiff.

"I was told this is somewhere in the region of the biggest attendance of an Olympic football match there's ever been.

"That sends a message out straight away.

"We have to put a performance on that makes the crowds want to come time and time again if we can."

Captain Ryan Giggs and fellow Welshmen Craig Bellamy and Joe Allen can expect a hero's welcome on Wednesday.

"It will mean a lot to all of the Welsh lads to play in our own stadium, our own backyard so it will be a great occasion," said Giggs who defended the trio's controversial decision not to sing the national anthem during the Olympics.

The trio suffered a backlash when they kept silent during the anthems before Thursday's opening 1-1 draw against Senegal and they did the same last night.

"It's a personal thing," said Giggs, who nevertheless urged Welsh fans not to jeer 'God Save the Queen' on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old, whose goal yesterday made him the oldest ever scorer in the Olympic tournament, added: "The British anthem is the same for a Welshman, Scotsman or an Englishman.

"It's difficult but it's not an issue for us. It might be for other people but once the game starts we're all pulling in the same direction and I think that's the main thing."