Olympic Football 2012: Best XI

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With just over two weeks to ago until the Olympic football tournament kicks off, some of the best and brightest young talents will soon be descending on London.

The 16 teams include representatives from every continent, and for the first time since 1960, Team GB will field a team at the competition. Favourites for gold include Brazil, who have surprisingly never won the top prize, Team GB, Uruguay, and Spain.

With Neymar and co ready to shine on British soil, Brazil are the team to beat. But every side stands a chance, and with each squad permitted to select three over-age players, there will be some top talent on show.

Here is a best XI combining the top young players to watch, with a few old heads looking to add Olympic gold to their already sizeable trophy cabinets.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea, Spain

Manchester United's number one has already won call-ups to the full Spain national team. But with Victor Valdes, Pepe Reina and Iker Casillas in front of him, De Gea's best chance of national glory comes this summer.

Right-back: Micah Richards, Team GB

A surprise exclusion from England's Euro 2012 squad, Richards will be a key player for Stuart Pearce on home soil. Quick, strong and a tenacious tackler, Richards will anchor the Team GB defence looking to win football gold for the first time since 1912.

Left-back: Jordi Alba, Spain

A stunning Euro 2012 tournament, including a goal against Italy in the final, brought Jordi Alba continental fame, and the left-back has since sealed a move to Barcelona. Lightning quick and a real threat getting forward, the Spain left-back is definitely one to watch.

Centre-back: Hamdan Al Kamali, UAE

The standout performer for a UAE team that many did not expect to qualify for the Games. The 23-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Lyon, and the Spanish magazine 'Don Balon' named Al Kamali as one of the 100 best young players in the world in 2011.

Centre-back: Thiago Silva, Brazil

Brazil's captain is one of Mario Menezes' over-age selections, and the AC Milan defender will look to keep things tight and allow his team's more creative players license to wreck havoc going forward. In a Brazil squad full of young, attacking talent, Thiago Silva will be crucial to his side's hopes in London.

Centre midfield: Lucas Moura, Brazil

The Sao Paulo star is the latest Brazilian wonderkid to be linked with a move to Europe. Chelsea are thought to be interested, and a strong showing in London could prompt a move from the Stamford Bridge side. Just 19 years old, Moura has already made several appearances for the Brazil national side, and should be one of the standout performers.

Centre midfield: Ryan Giggs, Team GB

The elder statesman of the tournament, the 38-year-old Giggs captains Stuart Pearce's Team GB side. The Manchester United winger has won it all at Old Trafford, but is yet to appear at a major international tournament. Despite his advancing years, Giggs remains one of the most gifted players at the competition.

Left wing: Juan Mata, Spain

Chelsea's gifted attacking midfielder joins the Spanish Olympic squad straight off the back of helping the national side to win Euro 2012. Like Alba, Mata also scored in the final, and the Stamford Bridge star will be hoping to make it a summer to remember by adding gold to his Euro 2012 triumph, Champions League and FA Cup wins.

Right wing: Gaston Ramirez, Uruguay

The 21-year-old Bologna winger is a reported transfer target for Liverpool, and Brendan Rodgers will get to take a good look at the player this summer. Ramirez is already a full Uruguay international and will look to consolidate his burgeoning reputation with a impressive showing in London.

Forward: Neymar, Brazil

Neymar is undoubtedly Brazil's biggest star. The Santos forward is just 20 years old but has already been linked with all of Europe's top clubs. His record for the Brazil national team is exceptional - nine goal from 18 caps - suggesting he could be a huge threat this summer.

Forward: Edinson Cavani, Uruguay

Reportedly the subject of interest from Manchester City and Chelsea, Cavani has blossomed into a top striker at Serie 'A' side Napoli. Along with Luis Suarez and Gaston Ramirez, Cavani forms part of a formidable attacking trio for Uruguay.

Bench: Jack Butland (Team GB) Luis Suarez (Uruguay), Ricardo Rodriguez (Switzerland), Mohamed El-Neny (Egypt), Marco Fabian (Mexico), Oscar (Brazil), Sebastian Coates (Uruguay)

Who would you pick in your best Olympic XI? Leave your suggestions in the comment box below...

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