Sun, sport and Sue Barker – the London 2012 Olympics was a blissful fortnight.
From Jessica Ennis’ charge down the home straight to confirm top spot in the heptathlon, to Andy Murray’s tennis gold just a month after his defeat in the Wimbledon final, the British public were spoilt with iconic sporting moments, as we were swept up in the feel good factor generated by the games.
However, not even Olympic fever could prevent penalty shootout heartache in the football.
Team GB entered a male football team at the Olympics for the first time since 1960, and having topped their group, they crashed out in the quarter-finals after a spot-kick masterclass from South Korea.
The team was managed by England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce, who assembled what, in hindsight, can only be described as a squad comprising predominantly of slightly obscure pub quiz answer type players. Plus Ryan Giggs.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at who made the 18-man squad.
Butland was the only member of the Olympic squad who also went to Euro 2012 a month earlier with England, meaning he managed to get knocked out on penalties at the quarter-final stage twice in the same summer. The 19-year-old played in every minute of Team GB’s four fixtures at the games.
Butland’s understudy was the then 21-year-old Middlesborough stopper Jason Steele. He only featured once for Team GB, in a pre-tournament friendly against Brazil.
Taylor was one of five Welsh players to make the squad, and one of three Swansea players included. No club side had more representatives than the Swans. The right-back did not miss a minute during the tournament.
Fresh from his Champions League triumph with Chelsea, Bertrand was one of two Blues players in the squad. He featured in three out of GB’s four group games.
22-year-old Rose was yet to nail down a regular starting berth at Tottenham, and found himself behind Neil Taylor in the GB pecking order. He made two substitute appearances in the final two games, coming on as the last throw of the dice against South Korea in extra time.
Along with Rose, Caulker was one of two Spurs players in the squad, although he had spent the previous season on loan at Swansea. He started every game during the tournament.
West Brom stalwart Craig Dawson made two substitute appearances for team GB during the games, including against South Korea in the quarter finals. His penalty in the shootout is one of the coolest you could ever wish to see.
Richards was one of three players aged over 23 selected for the squad – with only three overage players permitted at the Olympics. Richards started every game during the tournament.
Tomkins only featured once at the Olympics, although thanks to an admin error, he was also accidentally named on the bench for Brazil for their group stage game against Belarus. Historic.
Cleverley’s Olympic call-up came off the back of his breakthrough season at Manchester United. He was influential during GB’s win over the UAE in the group stages, and confidently dispatched his penalty in the quarter-finals.
Another member of Brendan Rodgers’ slick Swansea side to make the cut for Team GB, Allen started every match at the games.
Aged 38 when he was selected, GB certainly wanted to get their money’s worth when it came to overage players. Giggs captained the side, and produced an absolutely perfect penalty in the quarter final shootout.
Cork – then at Southampton – came off the bench in each of GB’s group games, but did not feature in the quarter-final defeat to South Korea.
Ramsey’s big breakthrough season was still to come when he was selected for the 2012 Olympics. He had a pretty up and down game in the last eight; first scoring from the spot to level the scores, then missing a penalty, before scoring in the shootout.
Another of Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea cohort, Sinclair started GB’s final two games, and scored in the group stage victory of the UAE, just one minute after coming off the bench.
The Chelsea man was the hero in the group stages, scoring a beautiful chip against the UAE, and netting the winner against Uruguay to ensure Team GB topped the group. However, he missed the decisive penalty against South Korea to send the squad packing.
Bellamy was the final overage player to be selected, and scored Team GB’s first goal of the games during the 1-1 draw with Senegal.
Sordell was the only outfield member of the squad selected from a Championship side, having played for Watford the previous season, prior to his switch to newly relegated Bolton. He featured twice at the games, starting once.