In this post, I will be previewing the riches mens' Olympic football at London 2012 has to offer us (sorry it's slightly late), including predictions, teams and players to watch out for.
But first, my thoughts on Olympic football in general. The issue of whether or not football should be an Olympic sport has, and will continue to do so, divided opinion. But I think that it definitely should, seeing as the Olympics are the world's biggest sporting event, and football is undoubtedly one of the world's most popular sports. However, in my opinion Olympic football is not as good as it could be, mostly because of the under-23 rule, meaning the squads are not as strong as they could be. Having said that, the restriction does provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the best talent from across the globe and as such is a hunting ground for top clubs looking for future stars. But I think that more should be done to promote football as an Olympic sport.
Now for my medal predictions:
Gold - Brazil, as their squad is loaded with some of the most breathtaking young talent in the world with dazzling skill, and big names packed in there too, such as Hulk and Alexandre Pato, in a very strong squad.
Silver - Spain, because they are still the best team in the world, and their tactics and style of play are head and shoulders above any other team as far as I can see.
Bronze - Uruguay: their continued rise to the top of world football can only continue here with a star-studded squad including the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.
Team to watch out for: Senegal. I think Sengal could prove to be something of a surprise package in this tournament, with established premier league names in the form of West Ham's new signing Mohamed Diame, very impressive in midfield last season for Wigan and Everton's precocious striker Magaye Gueye, mixed in with rising stars such as Osasuna's 23-year-old striker Ibrahima Balde, who has all the qualities to succeed on the biggest stage.
Players to watch out for:
Neymar (20, forward, Santos, Brazil) - heavily linked with moves to Barca, Real, and a host of Premier League clubs, when he plays it is easy to see why. In possession of the ability to perform some of the best skill moves in the world, as well as a habit of scoring for fun, this could be the time when the world really gets to see what the mohawked youngster can do.
Oscar (20, midfielder, Chelsea, Brazil) - the £26.2m his new club paid for him speaks volumes and the new Chelsea signing was dominant in midfield against GB in the recent friendly. Expect him to continue his form and wow the world.
Lucas Moura (20, midfielder, Sao Paolo, Brazil) - a move to Man Utd or Real Madrid has been strongly suggested, although Sao Paolo have slapped a £29.5m price tag on him, which should speak for itself about the incredible talent the attacking midfielder or winger has.
Iker Muniain (19, forward, Athletic Bilbao, Spain) - anyone who saw his awe-inspiring displays against Man Utd in the Europa League will know what I'm talking about when I say the left-winger has the potential to be the best player in the world one day. Look forward to more of the same.
Ander Herrera (22, midfielder, Athletic Bilbao, Spain) - can play with such confidence and fluidity that you would be forgiven for thinking that young Herrera is an experienced star player. The central midfielder is able to tie up any loose ends in the middle of the park and be the link between midfield and defence or attack.
Javi Martinez (23, defender, Athletic Bilbao, Spain) - Another one of the promising crop of young Spanish players to emerge from Bilbao. Superbly marshalled the formidable Man Utd strikeforce in the Europa League and can operate either at centre-back or in defensive midfield. Certainly one to watch out for.
Ki Sung-Yeung (23, midfielder, Celtic, South Korea) - Has had a fantastic last 2 seasons with Scottish champions Celtic, and may move to Liverpool or QPR. His clever runs and incisive passes can cause problems for any defence, and is also able to mop up loose balls in front of his own back line.
Jack Butland (19, goalkeeper, Birmingham, Great Britain) - Despite being just 19 years old, he may already be able to challenge Joe Hart for a place in the England starting XI after an unbelievable display against Brazil , with some of the best shot-stopping abilities and reactions in the game. A great prospect for the future, expect big things from him.
Pierre Emerick Aubemeyang (22, forward, St Etienne, Gabon) - Joint top scorer at this year's African Cup of Nations, the son of former defender Yaya and who used to be on the books at AC Milan, his lightning pace and direct runs make him very hard to deal with.
Thanks for reading this everyone, and have a great summer and Olympics!