Spain started the day with a one-sided 10-0 win against Tahiti at the Maracana, and Uruguay positioned themselves for a semifinal date with Brazil thanks to a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in Salvador.
Meanwhile, protests continued throughout the country as demonstrators voiced their objections to the costs, both financial and social, of next year’s World Cup.
Spain 10-0 Tahiti (5’ 33’ 57’ 78’ Torres; 31’ 89’ Silva; 39’ 49’ 64’ Villa; 66’ Mata)
Fernando Torres posted a quad and David Villa recorded a hat-trick as Spain filled the back of the net against Tahiti at the Maracana.
Cheered on by the local support, the Oceania champions nevertheless went behind after just five minutes when Torres, bursting into space from the left, put a delicate effort past Michael Roche that the Tahiti goalkeeper should have stopped.
But the floodgates would only open after the half-hour mark when David Silva scored the first of two goals in Rio de Janeiro—the Manchester City man latching onto David Villa’s superb pass and calmly putting the ball past Roche.
Following Torres’ second of the night two minutes later, it was time for Villa to open his account. This time it was Silva who played provider for his former Valencia teammate who made no mistake scoring his first goal of the competition from in close.
Ahead 4-0 at the interval, Spain would score another six minutes after the restart—Torres and Villa each bagging another two and Silva helping himself to his second of the match. And Juan Mata also got his name on the scoresheet when he charged through the Tahiti defense and finished emphatically in the 66th minute.
Nigeria 1-2 Uruguay (37’ Mikel—19’ Lugano; 51’ Forlan)
Diego Forlan was the star of the show as Uruguay picked up their first points of the Confederations Cup on Thursday, thanks to a goal and assist from their 34-year-old centurion.
On the occasion of his 100th appearance for his country, Forlan made it a night to remember, first playing a pass through to La Celeste captain Diego Lugano for the opener in the 19th minute and then scoring what proved to be the winner six minutes after the restart.
Having carried the ball up-field on the counter-attack, Luis Suarez found Edinson Cavani with a short pass, and Cavani’s perfectly-weighted ball teed up Forlan’s left-footed blast that left Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama with no chance as Uruguay restored their one-goal advantage.
Late in the first half, John Obi Mikel tied things up with a spectacular goal—the Chelsea man swerving through the Uruguayan defense, pulling the ball away from Lugano and converting a thunderous finish past Fernando Muslera.
But Nigeria created little else on the night despite taking the play to their opponents throughout the latter stages of the second period.
The Super Eagles are still second to Spain in Group B, but only by virtue of a goal difference superior to Uruguay’s. They’ll face La Roja in Fortalenza on Sunday while Uruguay will take on Tahiti in Recife.
Assuming they post a resounding victory, Uruguay would seem in good shape to progress to the semifinals.
We knew we were going to be playing in a top-class international tournament, and even though we’ve come away with a defeat, we’re looking on the Spain game as a victory. What’s happened to us in Brazil has come as a huge surprise because we’ve had tremendous support from the fans despite being heavily beaten...Obrigado, everyone! –Tahiti manager Eddy Etaeta (FIFA.com)
Player of the day
Diego Forlan. It was his day. The Uruguay international scored once and assisted another in his 100th match for Uruguay as the South American champions defeated Nigeria in Salvador and positioned themselves for a semifinal showdown with tournament hosts Brazil.
One of the most anticipated matches of the Confederations Cup will take place Saturday in Salvador when Group A co-leaders Italy and Brazil clash in at Arena Fonte Nova.
Italy will be without Daniele Rossi through suspension and Andrea Pirlo is also likely to miss out after picking up a muscle injury.
On the other side of the ball, Brazil will have to make do without Paulinho, who has an ankle problem, while David Luiz (broken nose) is also unlikely to feature.
Projected Italy XI: Buffon; Maggio, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Marchisio, Montolivo; Giaccherini, Diamanti, El Shaarawy; Balotelli
Projected Tahiti XI: J.Cesar; D.Alves, T.Silva, Dante, Marcelo; L.Gustavo, Hernanes; Hulk, Oscar, Neymar; Jo
It’s only pride on the line for Japan and Mexico, who are jockeying for third place in Group A and will be leave the tournament following Saturday’s match.
Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni is unlikely to change much from the side that came so close to beating Italy earlier in the week, although his Mexico counterpart Jose Manuel de la Torre will surely be tempted to ring the changes following a disappointing tournament.
Jesus Zavala and Pablo Barrera could come back into the lineup for El Tri, while Aldo de Nigris may partner Javier Hernandez up front.
Projected Japan XI: Kawashima; Uchida, Yoshida, Konno, Nagotomo; Hasebe, Endo; Kiyotake, Honda, Kagawa; Havenaar
Projected Mexico XI: Ochoa; Mier, Maza, Moreno, Salcido; Barrera, dos Santos, Zavala, Guardado; Hernandez, de Nigris
Protests continued to rock Brazil into Thursday night. Following is an assortment of Tweets from reporters on the ground.