What: FIFA Confederations Cup – Group B
Who: Spain vs Uruguay
When: Sunday 16th June, 2013, at 23:00 UK Time
Where: Arena Pernambuco, Pernambuco, Brazil
Spain start their Confederations Cup tournament as obvious favourites, acting as holders of the last two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup. In a group that comprises their adversaries on the night Uruguay, along with Tahiti and Nigeria, La Roja are in the hotseat to qualify as group leaders to the next round.
Barring the absence of holding midfielder Xabi Alonso, coach Vicente del Bosque heads into this summer with the best squad possible, and arguably the strongest of all eight sides present in the tournament. Having won the last three major international competitions, Cesc Fabregas highlighted his side’s hunger for more success, starting from the Confederations Cup.
“It is a competition that seems minor but is very important for us”, he explained. “I am very proud with what we have achieved, but we must continue. This team are never satisfied. We want the Confederations Cup. This generation deserves to have all the titles.”
Spain’s first game will be their toughest, as they will face a tough attacking unit in the form of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Both strikers will be hectic to deal with, and the center-back unit of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos will have a tough time dealing with the South Americans.
Taking Their Chances
Uruguay might be behind the likes of Spain, Brazil and Italy in the reckoning, but could very well topple the lot should they play their cards right. Obviously, their first match against Spain will be very crucial in respective to the rest of their group run, and if Oscar Tabarez’s men perform as they can, they could end their night on a high note against the Spaniards.
This fact has been highlighted by Tabarez himself, who declared that his players are ready for Del Bosque’s men, even with the evident gulf in class between the two. “They are superior, no doubt about it. The titles and the FIFA rankings say it all. But we have come to a feast of football and we have to make our presence felt and not be timid."
However, Spain have had the best of the two teams when they have met in recent times, as they won 3-1 last February and 2-0 eight years ago. The inaugural winners of the World Cup will need to bring the best side of their game. “We are going to treat the Spain game like a final. We didn't come here just to make up the numbers and have a good time”, declared Liverpool striker Luis Suarez ahead of this bout.
Spain 3-1 Uruguay (06/02; Friendly)
Spain 2-1 Haiti (08/06; Friendly)
Spain 2-0 Ireland (12/06; Friendly)
Uruguay 3-0 Paraguay (24/07; Copa America)
Spain 3-1 Uruguay (06/02; Friendly)
Uruguay 1-0 France (05/06; Friendly)
Players to watch
Spain – Iker Casillas: The Spanish legend is getting some playing minutes again after being frozen out by Jose Mourinho for the larger part of last season. His two saves against Ireland in the team’s last game proved that he still has plenty in the tank. A firm showing against Uruguay is needed for him to win some of his confidence back.
Uruguay – Edinson Cavani: The striker is being courted by some of Europe’s biggest guns and has harboured interest from England, France and Spain. His €63m buy-out clause might be intimidating, but Cavani can show just why he is worth it at the Confederations Cup.
Uruguay are amongst the favourites to win the trophy, but they face an early tough game against European and world champions Spain. The South Americans are a strong side, but will come up a little short against La Seleccion. Spain 2-1 Uruguay.
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