The Spain vs Nigeria match will take place on June 23, 2013 (12:00 PM Pacific) at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. Nigeria must win if it wants to have a shot at moving on to the next round, although it must hope that Tahiti does not allow anywhere near the 10 goals it conceded against Spain. The Super Eagles must defeat Spain, and hope Tahiti lose by only 4 or 5 goals against Uruguay– they are in true need of a miracle.
Nigeria started off play in Group B of the Confederations Cup 2013 with a 6-1 victory over Tahiti. Wining by just 5 goals might prove to be what knocks Nigeria out of the tournament (that’s if Spain doesn’t defeat them). With Spain scoring 10 on the poor Tahitians, and Uruguay looking to score as many as possible as well, Nigeria are almost certainly facing elimination, even if they manage to defeat Spain.
The crucial match for the Nigerians was held on June 20th against Uruguay, the winning team would have a huge advantage over the other. Thanks to the 2-1 loss Nigeria suffered at the hands of the Uruguayans, they are now forced into this difficult situation, where winning the Spain vs Nigeria match might not even be enough to qualify to the semifinals.
On the other side of the pitch, Spain has done quite well so far, defeating Uruguay 2-1 in a match they were clearly superior, and banging in 10 goals against the amateur Tahitian squad. With 6 points and a +11 goal differential, their spot in the semifinals is essentially guaranteed. Nonetheless, the Spaniards will likely field their full squad against Nigeria.
Most of the key players did not play against Tahiti, coach Del Bosque opting to rest his players for what was a guaranteed win. Furthermore, Spain will want to avoid playing the host nation, Brazil, in the semifinals, and a draw would be enough to win Group B and face Italy in the semifinals instead.
Spain vs Nigeria Prediction
The Spain vs Nigeria match will have La Furia Roja using its key players, both to avoid playing Brazil in the semifinal, and to generate momentum going into the match against Italy (plus, their key players are well rested). Nigeria has not had the luxury to rest players, and will be forced to come up with a victory over Spain. Spain will play its usual tiki-taka style, and maintain possession for most of the match. Running up against the tough Spanish defense, the speedy Nigerian players will not find a way to break through it.
Even if Nigeria gets the win, it’s unlikely that they would win by more than 1 or 2 goals, meaning that they would end up (hypothetically) with 6 points and +5 or +6 goal differential. Uruguay currently has a +0 differential, and will most likely defeat Tahiti. If Nigeria were to win, it must hope Tahiti allows less than 6 goals, an unlikely outcome, given the amateur status of the Polynesian side.
In the end, it won’t matter how many goals Uruguay scores on Tahiti, because the Spain vs Nigeria match will end in a 2-0 victory for the Spaniards. Spain is the #1 ranked team in the world, and has an incredible amount of talent. Nigeria has shown in its two Confederations Cup matches that it simply isn’t at that top level yet.
Spain vs Nigeria Television
The Spain vs Nigeria match will be televised on ESPN and Univision this Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM Pacific.