LONDON 2012: Scots Little and Dieke named in Great Britain's women's football team
SCOTLAND'S Kim Little and Ifeoma Dieke have been included in Great Britain's 18-strong women's football squad for the London 2012 Olympics.
LEADING LADY: Hope Powell, who has led England in 150 matches, has named her 18-strong squad for the London 2012 Olympics
The British Olympic Association have announced Arsenal midfielder Little and Sweden-based Dieke, who have 160 Scotland caps between them, as part of the squad, led by Hope Powell, along with 16 England internationals.
With the Scottish FA, along with its Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts expressing concerns over their players taking part under the GB umbrella amid worries over their future international sovereignty, it had been feared only English players would be selected.
The SFA and the FAW remain opposed to their players taking part and have repeatedly said so although they have stated that the decision ultimately rests with the players with Wales internationals Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey both expected to be part of the men's squad.
Previously, Little's Arsenal teammate Julie Fleeting had ruled herself out of playing for Great Britain, claiming she didn't want to jeopardise the Scottish national team but that has not stopped Little as well as America-born Dieke - although Jenny Beattie, the daughter of the former Scotland and British Lions rugby star, John, had been tipped for selection.
"Narrowing my squad down to 18 was very, very tough because of the calibre of player we've got coming through now," said Powell, who has picked Scotland's Jane Ross and Northern Ireland's Emma Higgins among four reserves.
"But we were very extensive in our scouting and our research and I believe we have got an excellent squad in terms of quality, balance and strength in depth. They are all current internationals with plenty of experience.
"This is a great chance for these players to be involved in something huge and it gives us a great platform to further raise the profile of the women's game."
The squad also includes England's all-time goalscorer Kelly Smith, who has found the net 45 times from her 111 caps and who has successfully recovered from a broken leg, sustained in March.
Many of the squad have enjoyed both domestic and international success with their club sides in recent seasons. Ellen White, Rachel Yankey, Stephanie Houghton and Kim Little were all part of the Arsenal Ladies squad that won the inaugural 2011 FA Women's Super League.
And Rachel Williams, Karen Carney and Eniola Aluko all featured for Birmingham City Ladies as they won The FA Women's Cup for the first time in May this year.
"I'm immensely proud to welcome the women's football team into Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games," said Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt.
"Having the opportunity to field a women's football team at the Olympics is a truly historic moment for us.
"The squad includes veterans that have played for some of the best club sides in the world, right through to those whose potential is still blossoming - but for all of them, the opportunity to represent Great Britain at a home Olympic Games is a new and unique experience. We all share their excitement in being part of the legacy of London 2012."
Women's football will be making a fifth Olympic appearance at London 2012 but these Games will mark the first time a British team has entered.
Great Britain begin against New Zealand in Cardiff on July 25 before completing their group-stage matches against Cameroon, also in Cardiff, and Beijing 2008 silver medallists Brazil at Wembley on July 31.
© Sportsbeat 2012