Preview: Great Britain steps into the unknown on Friday as the home nations unite on the football field for the first time in 40 years. Coach Stuart Pearce has limited time to mold his squad in time for a challenge for gold, with the Olympics getting underway next week.
Indeed the friendly with Brazil at the Riverside is GB's only warm-up before kicking-off against Senegal next Thursday.
The selection of Pearce's squad has been riddled with controversy from the moment it was announced that Great Britain would be fielding a team to compete in their home Olympics. The football associations of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland all made strong statements that they did not want their players involved for fear of it jeopardizing their right to compete independently in the international arena.
As expected the vast majority of the squad is made up by English players, with just five from Wales to add a British feel to proceedings.
The controversy did not end there, however. David Beckham, despite being one of the faces of the Games, was surprisingly not named as one of the three over-23 players in the squad. Pearce has also made headlines for venting his frustration at not being able to name players who were a part of England's squad at Euro 2012.
Certainly the lineup has an inexperienced look when compared with their opponents in Middlesbrough.
As they seek to win the one international honor to elude their glory-laden football side, Brazil are among the strong favorites for gold.
Unlike GB, Brazil's players have had plenty of opportunities to bond on and off the field. The side is led by Brazil's full national team coach Mano Menezes as he uses the Olympics as key preparation for the Selecao's attempts to win the World Cup on home soil in two years' time.
Not only will Brazil be showcasing some of their exceptional under-23 talent like Neymar and Oscar, but they have also added to their strength with overage players Thiago Silva, Hulk and Marcelo.
While British fans will be focusing on their own teams' prospects, many will also be casting a keen eye at the talent on show from Brazil. Several members of the squad--including Leandro Damiao, Hulk, Lucas Moura, Oscar and Paulo Henrique Ganso--have been strongly linked to Premier League clubs this summer.
Great Britain (probable)
D: Richards, Caulker, Tomkins, Bertrand
M: Allen, Cleverley
Giggs, Ramsey, Sinclair
GK: Rafael Cabral
D: Rafael da Silva, Silva, Juan, Marcelo
M: Sandro, Romulo
Hulk, Oscar, Neymar
Prediction: There will be much excitement to see how a united Great Britain side fare, but a closer look at the squad shows a side seriously lacking in depth. The likes of Tom Cleverley, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards all have the ability to live with the very best, while Ryan Giggs should relish the chance to finally compete at a major tournament. Beyond that, though, few players have a great deal of experience in the Premier League.
Great Britain could get a sharp reality check against what should be an entertaining and incredibly strong Brazilian side. Manezes' predicted quartet of Hulk, Oscar, Neymar and Damiao should relish coming up against a fairly inexperienced back line including 19-year-old goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Britain 1-2 Brazil