Men's soccer still intrigues, even without Team USA
U.S. soccer fanatics who were hoping to see Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan represent the red, white and blue in London over the next two weeks will just have to settle for watching some of the greatest players in the world instead.
The American men failed to qualify for the event, but with the quality of teams in the Games, it doesn't look like men's soccer will take a hit in international interest.
Fresh off their third straight major title at last month's European championships, defending World Cup titleholder Spain will kick off its bid for Olympic gold in London against Japan on Thursday.
The favorite is Brazil, who would love nothing more than to win its first gold medal ahead of hosting the 2014 World Cup.
"We know what we are capable of," said Brazil coach Mano Menezes after last weekend's exhibition win over Great Britain.
Host Great Britain, captained by Manchester United immortal Ryan Giggs, will be without David Beckham, who was left off the squad by team manager Stuart Pearce.
"It is disappointing for David," Giggs told reporters about Beckham's absence. "But as a player you've just get on with it."