Uruguay vs. Nigeria: La Celeste Will Bounce Back with Win over Super Eagles

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJune 20, 2013

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 16:  Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B match between Spain and Uruguay at the Arena Pernambuco on June 16, 2013 in Recife, Brazil.  (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

Diego Forlan and Uruguay are set to bounce back from a difficult loss to Spain on Thursday when La Celeste battle Nigeria in their second 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup match in Salvador, Brazil.

The Super Eagles are flying high after a 6-1 blowout win over Tahiti in their Group B opener, but Uruguay knows that with a win over Nigeria on Thursday and another over Tahiti on Sunday to round out group play, it'll be advancing to the Cup semifinals this summer.

While Uruguay's 2-1 loss to Spain on Sunday was far less competitive than the score would indicate, Oscar Tabarez's squad did look strong in defense after letting in two early goals, the second of which unfortunately struck off Uruguay defender and captain Diego Lugano.

But that disappointing result was almost expected and is history now.

Uruguay will be able to control the ball for longer stretches against Nigeria, thus opening more opportunities for the lethal striking tandem of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani at the top of the lineup.

Suarez was held in check for the most part against Spain, but still was able to show why he's one of the most coveted forwards on the planet when he scored on an almost unstoppable free kick late in the match.

Nigeria will need to tighten up defensively in order to keep Uruguay off the board. Stephen Keshi's side surrendered a goal to Tahiti early on in the second half, and recently allowed an undermanned Mexican side to equalize late in a friendly matchup in Houston last month.

Plus, the Super Eagles have yet to be tested in Brazil. Opening up against Tahiti is great for building confidence, but it won't prepare the African champions for what's to come against a side that finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup.

Nigeria possessed the ball for 66 percent of the match vs. Tahiti, but was only able to manage three more shots on goal than the over-matched squad from Oceania. And after Spain annihilated Tahiti 10-0 on Thursday, putting 14 shots on goal to Tahiti's zero, suddenly Nigeria's win looks that much more underwhelming.

While Nigeria won't need to be reminded of the importance of Thursday's match, Uruguay will have the advantage of playing closer to home with its back against the wall.

Look for that to be the difference for La Celeste as they take aim at three points in Group B.


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