Confederation Cup-Nigeria must work hard, perhaps invoking a miracle win against Spain by at least three goals advantage this Sunday to enable her advance in the on-going Confederations Cup after she went down in the last duel with Uruguay. Massive goal scoring by Nigeria and Spain against the underdog, Tahiti has placed Nigeria on a tightrope of committing herself to win with better goal advantage against Spain. Spain trashed Tahiti 10-0, while Nigeria stripped her (Tahiti) naked in a 6-1 win.
As the nation now gears up for her next stage Sunday, only hard work and a touch of wonder will see her to the next round. Spain simply has to avoid losing by four goals or more.
The task is so doubtful because even a one-goal win over Spain – though could be bringing a sweet win but may not be enough to guarantee victory as it may even see Nigeria exit from the competition.
The nation is only ahead of Uruguay by four goals, and it’s tough to see Tahiti avoid a loss by fewer than five goals.
In theory, both sides have everything to play for. Mathematically, Nigeria and Spain can still qualify for the semi-finals and also exit the competition. Spain need a point to be certain of taking top spot, while Nigeria needs to win and hope their goal difference is better than Uruguay’s at the end of the game.
Already, six players are treading a disciplinary tightrope. Bookings for the Super Eagles’ Joseph Akpala, Michael Babatunde and Kenneth Omeruo and Spain’s Alvaro Arbeloa, Santi Cazorla and Gerard Pique would see them miss a semi-final clash.
However, Nigeria could be without forward Nnamdi Oduamadi for their final Group B match against Spaniards.
He was substituted at half-time against Uruguay after being injured by a heavy tackle.
Valencia striker Roberto Soldado could lead the line despite Fernando Torres and David Villa netting a total of seven times against Tahiti.
*Nigeria suffered their first defeat in 20 matches against Uruguay on Thursday, ending a run which started in October 2010, while Spain became the first team to reach double figures in the tournament’s history after beating Tahiti 10-0 in Rio de Janeiro.
However, the African champions do have some history on their side. The only time the two sides have met was at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, when Nigeria defeated Spain 3-2 in the group stage. That enabled them to top the group and qualify for the last 16, while Spain finished third and were eliminated.
The game also brings together Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta and John Obi Mikel who are team-mates at English Premier League side Chelsea.