West Ham United bragging rights will be at stake when Team GB and Senegal square-off in their opening match at the London 2012 Olympic football tournament on Thursday evening.

Hammers team-mates James Tomkins of Team GB and Mohamed Diame of Senegal will put club loyalties behind them as their respective teams begin their quest for Gold in their opening Group A match at Old Trafford, kick-off 8pm.

With 16 squads battling for the medals, Tomkins and Diame know they will need to get off to a good start if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals. Group A also includes United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, who face-off at the same venue at 5pm.


It remains to be seen if Tomkins - handed the No12 shirt by Team GB coach and former Hammer Stuart Pearce - or Diame - one of three over-age players in the Senegal squad and their No13 at London 2012 - will start.

Tomkins started for Team GB in their warm-up defeat by Brazil at Middlesbrough last Friday and is battling for a starting place with Manchester City's Micah Richards, Tottenham Hotspur's Steven Caulker and West Bromwich Albion's Craig Dawson.

Diame, meanwhile, has thanked the Hammers for allowing him to represent his country at London 2012 and is eyeing an upset in Manchester.

"I have to say thank you to West Ham for giving me the chance to play in the Olympics," he told BBC Sport. "They could easily have said 'no' but they know it means a lot to me. We have been preparing well for the tournament so I think we are ready to put in a good performance.

"It's good for us to start against them because it will take time for the British players to get to know each other properly. If we can start well then we have a great chance to go to the quarter-finals.

"Even though Team GB lost against Brazil it was a very good game for them. It is a new team and now they know what they need to do to prepare for the first match of the Olympics. I'm sure they learned a lot playing against a big team like Brazil and we know they will be very dangerous in front of the home fans."

On Sunday, Team GB meet United Arab Emirates and Senegal face Uruguay at Wembley. Next Wednesday 1 August, Team GB battle Uruguay and Senegal take on United Arab Emirates at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The Gold medal match will take place at Wembley on Saturday 11 August.

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