By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Spain will meet Italy in the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup after beating Nigeria 3-0 yesterday afternoon at the Arena Castelão in Fortaleza. The African champions gave the Spaniards a fright, but a brace from Jordi Alba and a strike from Fernando Torres were enough to see the Europeans through to the semis.
The score was harsh on Nigeria, who paid dearly for their profligacy in front of goal. Their performance will be of great hope to the nations who remain in the competition after they showed Spain are not so impenetrable after all.
For Spain, it was a third straight win in the competiton. However, no one has given them a bigger challenge thus far and had Nigeria converted some of the chances they created, then the outcome could have been very different.
As it was, Nigeria had to surmount the challenge of conceding so early on in the game. After just three minutes, Jordi Alba’s dribble and shot gave Spain the lead.
Nevertheless, Nigeria didn’t get disheartened and could have drawn level on any of four occasions during an excellent first half performance. Mikel, Mba, Akpala and Ideye all missed chances to equalize.
Spain improved after the interval and on the hour mark, Torres doubled their lead. Only just on as a substitute for Roberto Soldado, the Chelsea hitman converted Pedro’s cross to effectively eliminate Nigeria, who still refused to drop their heads and continued battling until the bitter end.
Two minutes from time, Alba added a grossly unfair third after a spirited, and at times, dangerous Nigerian display. Spain meet Italy on Thursday, again in Fortaleza.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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