Britain’s Butland eager to shut out the boys from Brazil

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Great Britain goalkeeper Jack Butland cannot envisage a time when he would “engineer” a result to secure a favourable draw.

In a week when four badminton mixed doubles pairs were thrown out of the Olympics for trying to lose, it never crossed Butland’s mind not to make the late save from Luis Suarez in Cardiff on Wednesday that secured Britain’s victory over Uruguay.

If Suarez had scored, Britain would not now be preparing for a quarter-final tussle with South Korea at the Millennium Stadium tonight knowing favourites Brazil will almost certainly await the winners.

On paper at least, the other half of the draw looks negotiable.

Indeed, Senegal, who finished behind Britain in Group A, are fancied to reach the Wembley final on August 11.

There is no question of Butland regretting that save, though.

“If we are going to play in this tournament, we will have to play the best teams,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is the final or semi, we are going to have to play Brazil if we want to win the competition because I don’t expect them to get knocked out tomorrow.

“It would never come down to manufacturing a different result to get in a different half of the draw. That would never happen.”

Besides, Butland has a growing reputation to maintain, and Brazil are the perfect opponents to test it.

Twelve months ago, the 19-year-old was preparing to embark on the first of two spells on loan with Cheltenham from Birmingham. When the domestic campaign ended, his only senior action had been with the Whaddon Road outfit.

But positive reports from England’s goalkeeping coach Dave Watson propelled Butland into Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad when previous third choice John Ruddy was forced to pull out with a broken finger.

That experience from Poland and Ukraine banked, Butland demanded he was released for Olympic duty, even though the Football Association previously stated no player would be asked to do both.

So Butland has found himself turning out in front of big crowds at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium over the past week, and taking it all in his stride.

“I thrive on pressure,” he said. “I love big games. All I have wanted to do since I started was play for England and win tournaments.

“I do get nerves at times. Before the first match at Old Trafford I was the most nervous I have ever been in my life.

“It took me about 20 minutes to get used to it but after that I was fine. It is something to enjoy, not be frightened off.”

Regarding the prospect of challenging Joe Hart for the England No 1 jersey, Butland says: “One day I would like to do that. I enjoyed being part of the England set-up because I gained so much experience and, hopefully, that will continue.

“But I am only 19 and I need to play games before I can ever think about testing Joe because he is one of the best in the world at present. All I want to do at the moment is enjoy this Olympic experience and see where it takes me.”

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