Team GB suffer defeat by Brazil
Team GB were outclassed by Brazil in their first and only serious outing before they start their Olympic campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Stuart Pearce's team were given an indication of the huge task facing them if they are to win a medal at the Games as Brazil, one of the pre-tournament favourites, cruised to victory at the Riverside Stadium.
It was always going to be a difficult task for Pearce's side against a hugely talented team not only determined to win their first Olympic football gold but also looking to build towards the World Cup they host in 2014.
Tottenham midfielder Sandro headed his team in front with just 12 minutes gone after a free-kick was allowed to reach him at the far post and Neymar doubled the advantage from the penalty spot before the break.
Mano Menezes's side were certainly worthy of their lead at half-time and looked like a team keeping plenty in reserve, although their opponents certainly improved as the match wore on.
Brazil took an early grip on the contest and at times mesmerised their bewildered opponents with a well-honed willingness to pass and move, constantly seeking space to exploit.
Oscar, reportedly heading to Chelsea, was particularly superb in this respect, with a gift for finding space both to receive possession and pick out a team-mate.
In contrast, and understandably, there were times when Team GB looked like a group of strangers, particularly in defence.
The central defensive pairing of James Tomkins and Micah Richards - changed at the break when Steven Caulker replaced Tomkins - allowed Leandro Damiao to flick a goal-kick on to Neymar just minutes into the contest. The striker was clean through but smashed his shot wide.
Neymar showed the theatrical side of his game when he went down on the edge of the GB area just before the half-hour mark and stayed there for an extended period, much to the consternation of the crowd, who sprung into life by booing him and then subjecting him to a slow hand clap.
Before that the atmosphere inside the ground had been very flat, almost as though nobody quite knew what to chant.
The 20-year-old Santos forward was unfazed and shortly afterwards showed great composure in slotting his penalty into the bottom corner after Richards had lost track of Hulk and fouled the Porto forward from behind.
Team GB made changes at the break, with goalkeeper Jack Butland the busiest of the new arrivals, first denying Oscar and then Damiao.
The home team did briefly threaten when Danny Rose drilled a low cross that Craig Bellamy, booed throughout by the Boro crowd as a consequence of his former association with Newcastle, stabbed goalwards, only to be ruled offside.
And there were certainly more encouraging signs for Team GB after the break as they slowly grew into the contest, which is their first serious outing following a behind-closed-doors match against Mexico last weekend.
But the cutting edge continued to belong to Brazil, who open their Olympic campaign against Egypt in Cardiff, and Neymar drew a brilliant one-handed save from the excellent Butland, who also smothered an attempt from Lucas and palmed over an effort from Alexandre Pato.
By the end there had been 12 substitutions and the tempo had dropped considerably, but Team GB will need to step it up quickly if they are to qualify from a group that includes Uruguay and United Arab Emirates in addition to Senegal.