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Pearce: Games exit a learning experience

August 5, 2012 07:03 am

Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce believes his players are stronger for their Olympic experience despite seeing them suffer penalty shoot-out heartache in their quarter-final defeat to South Korea.

The Millennium Stadium clash had finished 1-1 after 120 minutes, and the first eight attempts of the shoot-out were successful. But Daniel Sturridge had his effort palmed away by substitute goalkeeper Lee Bumyoung, with Celtic's Ki Sung-Yueng stepping up to send Korea into a semi-final meeting with Brazil.

Aaron Ramsey also missed a penalty during normal time but Pearce said: "Dan got the winner three days ago that got us out of the group stages and tonight he is on the end of missing a penalty. But we are in this together, the important thing is that all the players have had an experience to make them better and stronger."

He added: "Some of those experiences are scoring goals and winners, and some of those experiences are having days like today when you are disappointed because you missed a penalty. But experiences like that make you stronger and he will benefit from this tournament without a doubt.

"The individuals who have come here and contributed go back to their clubs and countries the better for it."

The defeat, in all-too-familiar fashion, not least for Pearce, came at the end of a day that had seen Team GB win six Olympic golds, their highest tally in a single day's competition since 1908.

Pearce could not hide the disappointment of seeing his side's medal hopes extinguished, just as those of Hope Powell's women's team had been just 24 hours earlier. But he insisted he did not feel apprehensive when the game went to penalties, despite England's wretched shoot-out history. England provide the bulk of the British squad.

"I felt excitement," Pearce said. "I prepare my teams from day one, the first day we got together as a group we practised penalties and that's the same with the (England) Under-21s.

"We studied thoroughly and once we get to a penalty shoot-out situation I see myself and my team as favourites.

"The victors of this game were assured of two more matches and two chances at a medal and that is the disappointment, probably more so for the players who have enjoyed their time here. "I would have liked to see how we would have developed as a team playing more and more games."

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