Confederations Cup Preview: Nigeria vs. Spain, Uruguay vs. Tahiti
This afternoon sees the last group stage games of the Confederations Cup in Brazil, as Nigeria need a win against Spain to try and seal a place in the semifinals from Group B.
Uruguay has the much simpler task of beating Tahiti, who lost 6-1 to Nigeria in their opener and 10-0 to Spain last time out.
That loss was a Confederations Cup record, as the heaviest defeat in the tournaments history.
But can Tahiti cause a huge upset against the Uruguayans this afternoon? In a word. No.
However the global soccer community will be watching on intently to see how Tahiti respond after that hammering from world champions Spain.
Speaking of the Spanish, they could recall plenty of starters against Nigeria as their ticket to the semifinals is not mathematically booked despite wins against Uruguay and Tahiti. If Nigeria defeat Spain by four goals or more and Uruguay also win, then the Spanish could bow out at the group stage. However that scenario playing out is highly unlikely.
Nigeria meanwhile need to overcome Spain and hope that Tahiti somehow draw or beat Uruguay, if the Super Eagles are going to make the semifinals.
John Obi Mikel will be doing his best to break up the play in midfield but even if the African Cup of Nations champions do pull off a huge shock and beat Spain, their fate is no longer in their own hands. Nigeria haven’t defeated a European side since a 1-0 friendly win over France in 2009.
While Uruguay are buoyant after the vital 2-1 win against Nigeria. Diego Forlan emerged as the hero, with the veteran striker reminding us why he was named player of the tournament during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez will be missing skipper Diego Lugano through suspension but plenty of squad players will get the chance to shine.
La Celeste will be hoping a large win over Tahiti will be enough to see them through to the semifinals. Meanwhile Tahiti’s global profile has risen dramatically since the tournament began and their head coach Eddy Etaeta has promised to play all three of his goalkeepers at some point during this evening’s game with Uruguay.
A tense and thrilling finale is set up for Group B, with plenty of goals and top action expected as this wonderful Confederations Cup tournament continues.
Both games will start at 3pm ET, and you can watch Spain vs. Nigeria live on ESPN and Uruguay vs. Tahiti on ESPN 2.