You won't find many group matches more important than Nigeria vs. Uruguay.
Neither of these countries are expected to be major threats for the Confederations Cup title, but this battle will have important implications on the semifinals.
With Spain expected to easily advance out of Group B and Tahiti expected to provide every opponent with three points, the winner of this one could very well be the second team from the group in the final four.
Let's take a closer look at the crucial match.
Date: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Venue: Arena Fonte Nova, Brazil
Live Stream: WatchESPN App or ESPN3
Nigeria Player to Watch: Nnamdi Oduamadi
It was a dream-like Confederations Cup debut for Nnamdi Oduamadi, who scored three goals against Tahiti, becoming the first player on an African team ever to complete the rare feat, per ESPN's Paul Carr:
Nnamdi Oduamadi has the first hat trick by an African player at a senior FIFA tournament (WC or #ConfedCup).— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 17, 2013
Odu is just 22 years of age, but he is blessed with scintillating pace and impressive talent, and more importantly, he is clearly beginning to get accustomed to playing with his national team—before Monday's output, he had just one goal in five international appearances with the senior club.
Things are about to get slightly more difficult, however.
Uruguay presents a much stiffer challenge than Tahiti, but if the burgeoning striker can make an impact against La Celeste, it will be highly impressive.
Uruguay Player to Watch: Edinson Cavani
Luis Suarez will get a lot of the attention, especially if he puts in any more free kicks like he did against Spain, but Edinson Cavani is someone to keep your eye on.
Expected to be at the forefront of transfer talk this summer, the 26-year-old is one of the most dangerous strikers in the world.
He can score from anywhere around the box, he is an aerial threat, and he is adept at making the right pass when necessary.
With Spain controlling a record amount of possession, Cavani—Serie A's top goal scorer this year—wasn't able to get enough positive touches to make an impact.
Look for a bounce-back performance from him on Thursday.
Who ya got?
Nigeria is higher in the table, but that has a little bit to do with each team's opening-round opponent.
In the end, Uruguay has more talent—especially up front—and will play with the urgency necessary to get the three points.
Nigeria 1, Uruguay 3