When and where: The Olympic Group A match up kicks-off at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network, with a live stream available on NBCOlympics.com.

Preview: Great Britain's men play their first Olympic football match in 52 years when they take on Senegal at Old Trafford on Thursday.

After a build-up plagued with controversy, GB coach Stuart Pearce will likely be glad when the competition finally gets underway. Certainly attempting to bring the home nations together for this unique occasion has proved no easy task.

The Associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all made clear their opposition to a unified team, although the decisions would ultimately rest with the players. As it turned out, the squad selected by Pearce is dominated by Englishmen, with just five players from Wales making up the numbers.

The unrest did not end there, however. Despite being listed in the preliminary squads, David Beckham was surprisingly left out of the final party to the dismay of many. And, just when it was thought that the focus would finally switch to events on the field, another storm has arisen in the past 24 hours. Tottenham's Gareth Bale, left out of the Olympic squad through injury, sparked criticism from Fifa president Sepp Blatter among others for turning out in a pre-season friendly for Tottenham.

Those players who were selected will be under much scrutiny following a lackluster showing in their only warm-up match against Brazil on Friday.

Admittedly playing against the favorites for the tournament, GB looked sorely off the pace and someway off the cohesion and quality required to contest for medals. The one good piece of news in the buildup has been the return to fitness of Daniel Sturridge after a bout of meningitis.

With Uruguay looking a strong bet to progress and the United Arab Emirates considerable outsiders, GB's result against Senegal could be crucial to deciding who makes it through to the quarter-finals.

The Teranga Lions cannot afford to be taken lightly as they compete in the Olympic football event for the first time. The side will be missing leading forward, Dame Ndoye, however, after his club FC Copenhagen refused to release him. Defender Victor Bindia is an injury doubt to face GB.

Great Britain (probable)

G: Butland

D: Taylor, Richards, Tomkins, Bertrand

M: Cleverley, Allen, Giggs, Sinclair

F: Sturridge, Bellamy

Senegal (probable)

G: Mane

D: Ciss, Souare, P Gueye, Bindia

M: I Gueye, Diame, Kouyate, Toure

F: Balde, Konate

Prediction: Great Britain will need to show a marked improvement from their performance against Brazil if they are going to get the win they could well need against Senegal. Though largely unheralded, the African side could cause more than a few problems with the likes of West Ham's Mohamed Diame in their lineup.

It promises to be a nervy opening, but GB should just do enough to scrape a narrow victory.

Great Britain 1-0 Senegal