Pearce to play waiting game
Stuart Pearce will learn Great Britain's first three Olympic opponents on Tuesday - but still does not know what team he'll be able to put out.
Despite being one of the most established sports in the Games, Britain won the first two gold medals in 1908, 1912, it is also one of the most contentious.
Many do not believe the sport has any place within the Olympic showpiece at all and that it gets far too much global exposure already.
Barcelona were vexed enough four years ago to establish whether they were obliged to release Lionel Messi to play for Argentina and only this weekend Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his unease at the number of players Manchester United might lose immediately before the new Premier League season.
But all this is a mere side issue compared to the question of whether players from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will make it into Pearce's squad.
The respective governing bodies have already accepted they have no legal means of preventing it happening, and both the Football Association and British Olympic Association, who are responsible for putting the squad together, are keen for it to happen.
However, faced with the potential, however remote, of countries losing their rights as individual nations within FIFA, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Gareth Bale, Craig Bellamy, Steven Fletcher and Chris Brunt, who have all made Pearce's 80-man provisional squad, actually accept an invitation if it is forthcoming.
This summer's tournament has also been negatively affected by the absence of three countries who would have been certain to generate interest.
Australia and United States would have gained instant recognition amongst the home support, whilst an Argentina side looking to secure a third successive gold medal with Messi involved as an overage player would have been amongst the greatest attractions of the entire games.
As it is, Brazil and Uruguay carry the South American flag, which raises the potential for the brilliant Neymar to exhibit his talents on a European stage, and also Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, who are amongst those who could be called up as over-age players in the Under-23 tournament, of which each 18-man squad is allowed to have three.
Africa has provided a finalist in three out of the last four Games, so Egypt, Morocco and Gabon should be respected, plus Senegal if they overcome Oman in tonight's final play-off at the Ricoh Arena.
Ferguson is already resigned to losing Javier Hernandez to Mexico's challenge and it will be interesting to see whether Honduran trio Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas (Wigan) and Wilson Palacios (Stoke) are called up to aid their nation's efforts.
Europe's challenge is led by tournament favourites Spain, who won the UEFA Under-21 tournament last year that served as qualification.
David de Gea is certain to be included in their squad, although the talented Switzerland youngsters may provide stiff competition, in addition to Belarus.
For Pearce, whose side will play group matches at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium, it is an opportunity to relish.
If only he knew what his squad was going to be.