• London 2012 - Football

Team GB on brink of quarter-finals after UAE win

ESPN staff
July 29, 2012 « London Olympics 2012 LIVE! | Chartbeat test »
Ryan Giggs celebrates scoring the opener © Getty Images
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Two second-half goals from substitutes Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge proved crucial as Great Britain beat United Arab Emirates 3-1 to move within a point of qualifying for the last eight at London 2012.

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With the game slowly meandering towards a draw, Sinclair and Sturridge grabbed the vital goals, leaving Stuart Pearce's side only needing a draw in their final Group A clash against Uruguay to advance to the last eight.

Captain Ryan Giggs put GB in front in the 16th minute, meeting Craig Bellamy's pinpoint cross with a towering header that left the keeper rooted to the spot. GB got better as the half wore on and nearly extended their lead before the break. The inspirational Bellamy drove down the left flank before cutting back for the unmarked Cleverley, who saw his crisp strike canon off of both posts to safety.

UAE were still posing the occasional threat and they hauled themselves level on the hour. Rashed Eisa collected a through ball, ghosted past a snoozing James Tomkins and slid the ball under Jack Butland.

Desperate for goals, Pearce rung the changes and they proved a masterstroke as GB regained the lead in the 73rd minute. Bellamy was again the provider, running at the left back before whipping in a dangerous low cross which the keeper could only fumble into the path of Sinclair, who tapped in from close range. Sturridge put the icing on the cake three minutes later, racing clear through the middle and producing an exquisite lob from the edge of the box to wrap up a deserved victory.

In a huge shock, Honduras stunned Spain 1-0 as the World Cup winners crashed out of the competition. Jerry Bengtson's early header was the difference, with Spain failing to score for the second game in succession following their unexpected defeat to Japan.

Ten-man Senegal sprung a surprise, beating the much-fancied Uruguay 2-0. Despite Abdoulaye Ba's seeing red for a terrible challenge on Luis Suarez, Moussa Konate's brace proved the difference against the World Cup semi-finalists. Senegal will progress from the group if they beat UAE on Wednesday.

Brazil came from behind to beat Belarus 3-1 at Old Trafford thanks to a stunning second-half free-kick and last-minute assist from Neymar. The favourites for the gold medal had gone behind inside nine minutes when Renan Bressan popped up to put Belarus into a shock lead. But Pato levelled the scores six minutes later when he headed home.

Brazil continued to press and were rewarded in the 65th minute when Santos star Neymar showed why he is so highly rated and curled a free-kick into the top corner to put his side ahead. The winger wasn't done though and finished off Belarus with a wonderful backheeled assist in the final minute, which new Chelsea signing Oscar sent into the net with ease.

Elsewhere, Egypt's hopes of qualifying for the last eight of the Olympic football tournament took a blow as they drew 1-1 with New Zealand at Old Trafford after wasting several chances. Egypt fell behind to a 16th minute strike from West Brom's Chris Wood, but Mohamed Salah equalised from close-range at the end of the first half.

The Africans could have had at least seven goals by the final whistle but a mixture of last-ditch Kiwi defending, and some awful finishing from Egypt, meant they had to settle for a draw in what was a poor-quality contest.

Juan Mata shows his frustration © PA Photos
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Egypt will have to beat Belarus on Wednesday to qualify for the quarter-finals, while minnows New Zealand will have to beat the South American side to progress from Group C.

Giovani dos Santos' two-goal cameo from off the bench gave Mexico a 2-0 win over Gabon and sent El Tri top of Group B on Sunday. Giovani, who struggled to earn a place under Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, was introduced as a second-half substitute and broke the deadlock after 63 minutes. He then scored from the penalty spot in injury-time after Gabon defender Henri Ndong was sent off for a professional foul.

Kim Bo-kyung earned South Korea a 2-1 win over Switzerland at the City of Coventry Stadium. Park Chu-young put Korea in front only for Switzerland to hit back immediately through Innocent Emeghara. It was left to Cardiff's Kim to be the hero, dispatching a deflected cross to put Korea level on points with Group B leaders Mexico.

Kensuke Nagai grabbed the only goal - six minutes from time - as Japan closed in on a place in the quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Morocco.

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