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Published 26th Apr 2012

England U21s at Riverside

Boro will host a unique, pre-Olympics double header when Team GB men's and women's teams stage their warm-up matches at the Riverside Stadium this summer.

It will be the only chance to see Team GB before the Games start, with Hope Powell's women's team taking on Sweden before the men's side, led by Stuart Pearce, face Brazil.

Both matches will take place on Friday July 20, with the Riverside set to make history by staging the Great Britain women's side's first ever match.

Meanwhile, the Great Britain men's team will be taking to the field for the first time since 1971 when they took part in the qualifying competition for the 1972 Olympics.

Pearce is sure the Teesside public will turn out in force to watch the matches following the huge success of the England U-21 Euro qualifier with Belgium in February, which attracted a crowd of almost 23,000 to the Riverside.

"In world football, they don't come much bigger than Brazil and it should be a terrific occasion for us going into our first match," he said.

"Middlesbrough recently hosted an U-21 game and had a tremendous crowd, and I think, particularly with the Brazilian connections on Teesside, it will be a terrific turn-out again in July.

"I've learned a lot over the period of time since I was given the opportunity to lead this team into the Olympics, and I realise just how massive an event it is going to be for the whole of Great Britain."

Powell added: "There has been a lot of work behind the scenes to plan and prepare for this tournament and the warm-up match is a key part of that.

"Sweden are a strong team and we want that challenge to be ready for July 25 when the Olympics begins for us.

"It's a huge opportunity, both in this country and worldwide, to showcase women's football to a bigger audience and grow the game."

Boro Chief Executive Neil Bausor said Team GB's visit was a fantastic boost for Teesside and a reward for the way fans turned out in force for the recent England U-21 game.

"This is a massive honour for Middlesbrough Football Club and the town in general," he said. "Team GB will bring all the excitement of the Olympics to the Riverside Stadium and we are thrilled and proud to host this unique double header.

"We showed in February what a huge appetite there is for international football on Teesside and I'm sure there will be a massive interest in both these matches, which take place just a few days before the Olympic football tournament begins.

"The teams will also train with us and the decision to come to Middlesbrough is testament to the fantastic facilities we have.

GB women will kick off the Games tournament on Wednesday July 25 in Cardiff.

Ticketing details and kick-off times for the GB double header at the Riverside will be announced shortly.

Useful links

Middlesbrough Football Club

The FA

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