Nigeria vs. Uruguay: 5 Key Battles to Watch in Confederations Cup Clash

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Nigeria vs. Uruguay: 5 Key Battles to Watch in Confederations Cup Clash
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

This matchup is without doubt the crucial encounter for both these sides in the Confederations Cup group stage. 

With Spain, who have already swept aside Uruguay, the clear group favorites to top the group, and Tahiti, who Nigeria have already accounted for in their opening fixture, the predicted whipping boys, this game is set to determine who finishes second and qualifies for the knock-out stages.

Nigeria arrived late at the tournament following contract disputes and are missing some of their biggest, most experienced names, such as Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike, Ogenyi Onazi and Kalu Uche, however, they give the impression they are a squad brimming with potential.

Coach Stephen Keshi also cleared out a number of high-profile players following the 2010 World Cup, but so far this controversial move has proved a masterstroke. 

Having claimed the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, Nigeria have already shown that this new generation of players have the potential to match their predecessors.

Uruguay, on the other hand, are struggling to deal with their own changing of the guard. The squad that took them to the quarterfinals in South Africa in 2010 and to Copa America glory in Argentina in 2011 no longer has the same aura about it.

While the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are still playing at their peaks, veterans such as Diego Lugano and Diego Forlan are not at the same level they once were.

Could this Confederations Cup force Oscar Tabarez into a clear out of his own? Much will depend on the result of this encounter against Nigeria.

Here are a handful of the key matchups.

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