OLYMPICS: Given its enormous following across Europe, south America and Asia, football is unarguably the world's most popular sport - but there are many who believe that the men's game simply has no place at London 2012.
And though the sport has featured on the Olympic roster since 1900, a reported 1 million unsold tickets for the event indicates that the critics may well have a point.
Less than four weeks after the final of Euro 2012, saturation coverage of the men's game is set to continue unabated as the London 2012 tournament kicks off before being swiftly followed by the new Premier League season.
Organisers will be hoping that the almost certain inclusion of the likes of David Beckham in Team GB's ranks heightens interest in a tournament which, unlike the women's event and virtually every other sport at the Games, is not seen as even being close to the pinnacle of the men's game.
Indeed for many of the participating nations the men's Olympic contest is viewed as something akin to an apprenticeship for budding starlets, due in part to the rule that each squad can only have three players over 23 years of age.
Yet though the lack of established stars at the top of their game may well deter casual interest, for purists the chance to see developing wonderkids is undoubtedly a mouthwatering one.
Global superstars such as Carlos Tevez, Hernan Crespo and Romario all made their mark at previous Games and though they went on to bigger and better things, the chance to see such players in the formative years of their careers is enticing indeed.
This time around expect to see the likes of Brazilian pair Neymar and Ganso make the most of the Olympic spotlight, while Uruguay's David Texeira plus the Spanish pair of Adrian and Ander Jerrera are also likely to shine.
Also it's worth watching out for Argentina, who have won the last two men's Olympic football tournaments and are seeking a hat-trick of golds to pull level at the top of the medal table with Britain and Hungary.
In terms of the British side head coach Stuart Pearce is expected to name his 23-man squad next week, though he has a number of issues to consider when considering his final selection.
As well as the over-age rule, an agreement with the Football Association prevents Pearce from picking any player who competed at Euro 2012 with England, meaning he cannot select the likes of Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Liverpool's Martin Kelly.
Further, a number of English clubs have opposed call-ups for their charges with Manchester United indicating they do not want any over-age player - such as Rio Ferdinand - to be considered apart from Ryan Giggs.
Meanwhile Tottenham and Arsenal have expressed concerns over the potential inclusion of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey respectively.
That said, there are one or two senior names who are almost certain to be included.
British Olympic Association boss Andy Hunt may claim in public that Pearce has the final say over selection but it's virtually a given that Beckham will make the final cut.
The veteran midfielder has been pushing hard to ensure his inclusion in Pearce's squad and his high profile is sure to aid his case, especially given the BOA's pressing need to shift tickets.
Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy is another set to take part after the Welshman claimed he had already been told of his inclusion, with other potentials being Bellamy's Anfield teammate Joe Cole, former Wales skipper Ryan Giggs, Scotland striker Steven Fletcher and Northern Ireland midfielder Chris Brunt.
Pearce's side begin their bid to claim Olympic gold with a Group A match against Senegal at Old Trafford on July 26 - a day before the Olympic opening ceremony - before facing the United Arab Emirates (July 29) and Uruguay (August 1).
However with a friendly scheduled for July 20 at the Riverside against a Brazil team likely to boast the likes of Neymar, Ganso and Ronaldinho, supporters should get a glimpse of what to expect from Team GB well in advance of the opening match.
During the tournament itself, matches will be played at Hampden Park, St James' Park, Old Trafford, the City of Coventry Stadium, the Millennium Stadium and Wembley.
The 16 teams in the men's competition have been split into four groups, with the top two in each group advancing to the quarter-finals - and Team GB will want to avoid any chance of going to penalties if they reach the knock-out phase.
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