Team GB coach Stuart Pearce believes the Olympic football tournament is in danger of being underestimated.

Those who remain unconverted to the idea of football being part of London 2012 would have had all their pre-conceptions underlined at Old Trafford on Tuesday. A grand total of seven reporters, plus a BBC crew, were in the Europa Suite as Pearce, accompanied by skipper Ryan Giggs, looked ahead to GB's opening match against Senegal on Thursday.

The press conference itself had been brought forward by 24 hours to allow for greater coverage of Hope Powell's women's side, who open the entire Games in Cardiff on Wednesday afternoon. Greeted with scores of empty seats, Pearce smiled and said: "We could have done this in my bedroom."

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