Spain 3 (Jordi Alba 3, 88, Torres 62)
Castelão, Fortaleza. Temp. 27°C, wind 8 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)
Spain: Valdes, Ramos, Arbeloa, Pique, Jordi Alba, Fabregas (Silva 54), Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Soldado (Torres 60), Pedro (Villa 75).
Nigeria: Enyeama, Echiejile, Ambrose, Omeruo (Egwuekwe 11), Oboabona, Obi Mikel, Mba (Ogu 63), Ogude, Ideye, Akpala (Gambo 71), Musa.
Vicente del Bosque’s all conquering Spain team expectedly beat Nigeria to win Group B at the 2013 Confederations Cup with three wins from three and Fernando Torres moved clear at the top of the scorers chart with his fifth of the tournament. Nigeria looked promising at times but ultimately they didn’t have enough to qualify for the semi finals and will be going home to concentrate on the final round of the African World Cup qualifiers to try to make sure they can return to Brazil next year and use the experience they have gained from this competition.
Spain got off to a dream start by taking the lead in only the third minute when Jordi Alba finished off a fine run with a confident finish past Enyeama in the Nigeria goal. If there’s one team in the world who you don’t want to be chasing the game against for almost ninety minutes on a hot day it’s Spain, for they are masters at keeping possession, and the Nigerians knew they were facing an uphill struggle from that point on. With Uruguay winning in the other group match, Nigeria needed a big win to have a hope of going through and to their credit they had a go, taking the game to Spain and creating some chances, the best of which was when a shot from Jon Obi Mikel hit the bar. However, Spain were always a threat themselves and Fabregas also hit woodwork at the other end as half time approached.
We reached the hour mark with the score still at 1-0 to Spain and del Bosque introduced Fernando Torres to freshen up his attack in a bid to kill off any hopes of a Nigerian revival. The Chelsea striker duly delivered within two minutes of coming off the bench as he headed a Pedro cross past Enyeama to double the lead. From then on the result was never in doubt and Alba wrapped up the scoring two minutes from time with his own second of the game. Spain, as Group B winners, will now face Group A runners up Italy in the second semi final on Thursday.