Spain vs. Tahiti: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
Spain passed its toughest test of the Confederations Cup group stage with a 2-1 victory over Uruguay in the tournament opener for both sides. La Roja now prepare to face an overmatched Tahiti squad, which was already defeated 6-1 by Nigeria.
The defending World Cup and European champions looked ready for another deep tournament run in knocking off Uruguay. So, given the drop in the level of competition, it wouldn't be a surprise to see head coach Vicente del Bosque give some of his top stars a rest.
Quite simply, Tahiti doesn't pose a serious threat to Spain. While the nation deserves credit for earning a berth in the marquee tournament, a five-goal loss to Nigeria shows the uphill battle its facing. The talent level just isn't up to par for this type of event.
What's your prediction for the Group B match?
With that in mind, let's check out all the viewing information for what should be a full display of Spain's dominance. It's followed by a closer look at some players to watch throughout the match and a prediction.
Where: Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When: Thursday, June 20 at 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Spain Player to Watch: David Villa
Villa was left on the bench against Uruguay as Spain went with Roberto Soldado and Pedro atop the formation. The veteran should get back in the mix against Tahiti, which would provide him with a golden opportunity to make his case to start moving forward.
The 31-year-old striker has scored 53 international goals, the most in Spanish national team history. His 89 appearances also rank inside the top 10 of all time. A player with that type of track record is a valuable asset, whether it's as a starter or off the bench in the second half.
Villa also faces an uncertain future with Barcelona, as his name has been constantly involved in transfer talk, as illustrated by Goal.com, since season's end. Strong performances in the Confederations Cup could increase the number of interested clubs or get Barca to reconsider his stance with the club.
Tahiti Player to Watch: Jonathan Tehau
Tahiti understood the challenge it faced upon arriving to Brazil. When Tehau scored against Nigeria in the first match, the Toa Aito celebrated hard despite still being down 3-1 in the match because it was still a major accomplishment.
No matter what happens throughout the rest of the tournament or in Tehau's international career, he can be proud of the fact he scored in a major event. It should make him a star in Tahiti, and will be something he never forgets.
Scoring against Spain would elevate him to another level. It's an extreme long shot, of course. But this tournament is all about small victories for a country that wasn't viewed as a threat. His goal in the opener was one. Now the Toa Aito seek another.
Matchup to Watch: Spain midfield vs. Tahiti defense
In typical fashion, Spain was able to control Uruguay by dominating possession in the midfield. It scored two goals within the first 32 minutes and just played utilized a ball-control approach to secure the three points. A late goal by Luis Suarez made the match seem closer than it was.
What should Spain do vs. Tahiti?
Even though La Roja may employ a different group in the middle against a less dangerous Tahiti side, the approach will remain the same. Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla are two players coming off solid campaigns in the Premier League that could get a look for Spain.
Ultimately, the Tahiti back line, led by Nicolas Vallar, will be no match. The only unknown is whether Spain plays hard for 90 minutes to rack up as many goals as possible or backs off in the second half. Either way, it should be a very comfortable triumph for the title contenders.
Spain 7, Tahiti 0
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