Confederations Cup 2013: Biggest Takeaways from Sunday's Group Matches
The 2013 Confederations Cup continued on Sunday, as four teams went to battle with a focus on advancement. With favorites Spain and Uruguay taking on Nigeria and Tahiti respectively, we knew what to expect.
The question is, what should we take away from Sunday's group matches?
Spain defeated Nigeria by a score of 3-0 during the first of two games, with Jordi Alba scoring two goals and Fernando Torres tallying another. The defending World Cup champions put 17 shots on goal, controlling possession for 58 percent of the game.
Vincent Enyeama stopped 14 shots, but that wasn't enough for Nigeria, as Victor Valdes pitched his second consecutive clean sheet.
In the second game, Uruguay decimated Tahiti by a count of 8-0 behind four goals from Abel Hernandez, two from Luis Suarez and one apiece from Diego Perez and Nicolas Lodeiro. Tahiti has now lost their past three games by a total count of 24-1.
That's where we start.
Brazil Loves Tahiti
For the third consecutive game, Tahiti took the field and was entirely destroyed by their opposition. In three games, they managed one goal and allowed a stunning 24.
Even still, Brazil's support never wavered.
At every turn, we saw the passion of the football world as they embraced a squad led primarily by amateurs. Even as the games strayed well out of reach, we saw the local fans scream with every touch of the ball.
A heartwarming moment for a team that may not belong just yet—a team that displayed their mutual appreciation.
That's what you call a memorable image.
With young players all around, a case could be made that Tahiti's future is significantly brighter than their current results. With that being said, they were run out of the building at every turn on the pitch.
Still, the fans gave them every reason to stick around—one of the major reasons we love football.
Uruguay is Still Kicking
You try not to put too much stock in a win over a team of Tahiti's caliber, even if it was by a count of 8-0. With that being said, Uruguay has been inconsistent in recent games and needed to earn a convincing win.
Led by four goals from Abel Hernandez, Uruguay was able to pull away from their inferior opponent. With Luis Suarez tallying two goals and additional scores from Diego Perez and Nicolas Lodeiro, Uruguay stepped up in a major way.
But can they continue this success?
Uruguay escaped Nigeria by a score of 2-1 and lost 1-2 to Spain just one game prior. With players such as Diego Forlan, Suarez and Hernandez finding their form, however, there is hope for Uruguay to bounce back and fight their way into World Cup qualifying.
Take a win over Tahiti as you will, but Uruguay needs as much momentum as they can find.
As it presently stands, Uruguay is fifth in the qualifying stages. The format dictates that the top four teams clinch their berth, while No. 5 is subject to a playoff game to earn their World Cup status.
Seeing as Uruguay is five points behind fourth-place Chile, every win counts as they build momentum to close out the qualifying stage in class.
Spain's Depth, Torres' Return to Form a Deadly Combination
As if we didn't know this already, the Spanish national team is one of the deepest squads in the world. From an abundance of goal scorers to a plethora of back-line defenders, Spain has countless options when it comes to substitutions.
Today, it was defenseman Jordi Alba that had as many goals in one game as he scored in 18 international appearances in 2012-13.
Alba found the back of the net on two separate occasions during Spain's 3-0 victory over Nigeria. Not only did he score twice, but he did so at entirely different points of the game, thus displaying Spain's ability to strike at any moment.
The first goal came in the third minute, while the second in the 88th.
Joining Alba on the scoreboard was the recently rejuvenated Fernando Torres, who has five goals over the past two games. By comparison, Torres scored four goals in international play during the entire 2012-13 season.
If Torres truly has rediscovered his form, Spain's chances of repeating as World Cup champions improve—significantly.
Torres is regarded as one of the most skilled players in the world, but his production has wavered in recent seasons. While these past two games are hardly a guarantee that he's back in form, they're certainly encouraging.
Regardless of whom Spain drew, five goals in two games is impressive.
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